Hollie Davidson sees World Rugby U20s Championship appointment as stepping stone

Scots whistler will head to Cape Town later this month for age-grade tournament and then touch-judge in three World Cup warm-up matches

Hollie Davidson will referee at the World Rugby U20s Championship later this month. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Hollie Davidson will referee at the World Rugby U20s Championship later this month. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

HOLLIE DAVIDSON views her appointment as the first female referee to officiate in the World Rugby U20s Championship as an important stepping-stone towards making the panel for the senior men’s World Cup in Australia in 2027.

The Scottish whistler has had a busy but rewarding 12 months, officiating finals at the Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup Sevens and the women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, whilst regularly refereeing matches in the United Rugby Championship (URC), and also leading the first all-female team of officials in a European match when Scarlets hosted the Cheetahs in the Challenge Cup in January.

There will be no letting up this summer for the 30-year-old who is originally from Aboyne because she will travel to Cape Town later this month for World Rugby’s U20 Championship, before taking on assistant referee appointments in three Rugby World Cup 2023 warm-up matches (Romania versus the USA in Bucharest on 5th August, Portugal versus the USA in Algarve on 12th August and England versus Fiji at Twickenham on 26th August).


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There is, however, no Scottish representation among the 26 match officials (12 referees, seven assistant referees and seven TMOs) heading to France for this autumn’s World Cup. In fact, the last Scot to make a World Cup officials panel was Malcolm Changleng as a touch-judge back in 2007, and the last Scot to referee at a men’s World Cup was Jim Fleming in 1999. This is a long barren spell which Davidson has set her sights on ending.

“The under-20s is a great opportunity to make that step into the next stage of World Rugby men’s tests,” she said. “To be honest, I see this as maybe the first step on that journey [to a men’s Rugby World Cup].

“What’s probably most important now is that, yes, I go down there but I put in performances that I’m proud of and it allows me to continue that journey.

“It’s fine me being there but if I then go down and don’t perform, then it’s maybe a backward step. So, I just need to go down, stay focused and then hopefully the journey continues after the junior World Cup.”

“When I got involved in reffing, I always wanted to try and push myself to become one of the best,” Davidson added. “Push boundaries, push perceptions and continue to challenge.”

Davidson will be flying the flag for Scotland alone in Cape Town because the Under-20s team were relegated out of the tournament the last time it was played pre-Covid back in 2019. They must now win promotion back to the top table by winning the World Rugby U20s Trophy which is being played in Kenya during the second half of July.

Kenny Murray‘s side will play pool matches against Zimbabwe, USA (who qualified at the weekend after beating Canada 82-35 on aggregate across a two-legged North America qualification play-off) and Uruguay. If they top their pool, then they will face either Samoa, Kenya, Spain or Hong Kong in a winner-takes-all match for promotion back into the Championship in 2024.


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About David Barnes 3989 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

1 Comment

  1. Well done Hollie, best wishes and good luck. You’ve been excellent in the URC games I’ve watched 👍🙂

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