She will take charge of her first men's top tier game when Munster face Benetton

Hollie Davidson set to referee her first Pro14 match

Hollie Davidson will take charge of Munster’s game against Benetton in the Pro14 on Friday 19 March. After becoming Scottish Rugby Union’s first full-time professional women’s referee in 2017 at just 24-years-old, the Pro14 fixture will be the first top tier men’s game she’s refereed.

The postponement of the Challenge Cup meant Davidson missed out on refereeing Newcastle Falcons’ game against Castres in the European competition in January 2021. Similarly, Davidson missed out on refereeing Glasgow Warriors v Benetton in the Pro14 last month as bad weather led to its postponement. She’ll no doubt be hoping that Friday’s game will prove third time lucky.

However, Glasgow Warriors game against Zebre in 2018 subjected Davidson to her first Pro14 fixture, acting as Assistant Referee.

Davidson’s Pro14 appointment creates history

Irishwoman Joy Neville will also join Davidson on the officiating team as Television Match Official (TMO). The first top tier men’s game featuring both a female referee and female TMO, the Pro14 fixture will create history within rugby.

Neville refereed her first Pro14 fixture in February 2018, becoming the first to do so in the competition. Following in Neville’s footsteps, 28-year-old Davidson becomes just the second female to take charge of a Pro14 game.

The Pro14’s elite referee manager, Greg Garner, is full of praise for Davidson’s appointment.

“Our elite referee pathway has greatly improved in recent years thanks to the efforts of our unions working together. It’s very rewarding to see Hollie Davidson make her debut after the disappointment of the postponement a few weeks ago”.

“Putting the elite pathway in place helps identify match officials with the potential to referee at Test level. As a result we have now seen Andy Brace and Mike Adamson appointed for Six Nations games this season.

“In addition, Joy Neville has also performed the role of TMO in rounds one and four of the Six Nations.

“It is ground-breaking for the sport with Joy’s selection as TMO for the game. We have a competitive group of referees now. It is great to see younger officials looking to hold the whistle on the biggest occasions.”

Can’t get to the shops? Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet. Subscribe to the print edition for magazine delivery to your door.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.