15 Mar 2017
Top female referee Aimee Barrett-Theron on Monday continued to break new ground by becoming the first female referee on SA Rugby's national panel to take charge of a men's match in a domestic competition.
She officiated the FNB Varsity Shield presented by Steinhoff International match between the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the University of Fort Hare (UFH) in Wellington.
Barrett-Theron broke onto the international scene last season by being named in World Rugby Women's Sevens Series panel, and her career flourished soon after as she officiated at the Rio Olympic Games and then took charge of her first Test between Japan and Fiji in Japan in December.
Her career received a further boost in February, as she was tasked with the responsibility of officiating the opening match in the Women's Six Nations between Scotland and Ireland.
"We are very proud of Aimee," said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
"Her remarkable achievements in the last two seasons are a just reward for all her hard work and dedication to refereeing, and it shows that if one is willing to work hard, anything is possible.
"I hope this feat inspires other referees, both female and male, to put in the hard yards so that they too can advance through SA Rugby's refereeing structures. We pride ourselves on the high level of all our SA Rugby competitions, and the FNB Varsity Cup, presented by Steinhoff International, and the FNB Varsity Shield and Young Guns competitions all fall under that umbrella."
Varsity Cup CEO Duitser Bosman was equally proud of Barrett-Theron's achievement and said their competitions served as the perfect platform for everyone involved to grow and develop their careers.
"We pride ourselves on offering players, referees, coaches and team management team members the opportunity to make their mark in their respective fields of expertise, and to further develop their careers," said Bosman.
"Several players who made their first meaningful steps in senior rugby in the Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield competitions have become Springboks, while SA Rugby referees Rasta Rasivhenge and Lourens van der Merwe also started out at the Varsity Cup and they both earned international honours.
"So we are delighted that Aimee is also breaking new ground in our competitions, and we hope to see her feature much more in future."