Rugby history-maker Cox aims to break down barriers

Sara Cox became the first woman to referee a Premiership game when she took charge of Harlequins' clash against Worcester on Saturday.

Professional rugby referee Sara Cox. Picture: @premrugby/Twitter

LONDON, United Kingdom - Sara Cox hopes aspiring rugby union referees will embrace a "no barrier to entry" attitude after she made history in the English Premiership.

Cox became the first woman to referee a Premiership game when she took charge of Harlequins' clash against Worcester on Saturday.

The 31-year-old was the first female referee to be centrally contracted by the Rugby Football Union in 2016, and last year became the first female assistant referee in English rugby's top flight.

Cox has refereed 23 women's Test matches, run the line in 11 Premiership fixtures and has twice been a television match official.

She hopes the spotlight on her will attract more female and male referees to the sport.

"How do we get more people involved in refereeing, full stop?" Cox said.

"Having been involved as the president of my Referees' Society a couple of years ago, there is a little bit of a shortage of people wanting to be involved. How do we get them involved?

"And out of that, I think naturally we will get more females involved as well.

"It's about that exposure. If you can't see what I am doing at the top level and know it is a possibility, then how can you expect anybody else to be involved and understand that?

"It's about that awareness, that engagement with people and showing people that it is a bit different, but also it can bring you lots and lots of positive things.

"The journey I've been on, and quite frankly, the stubbornness that goes with it, is something I hope other people can engage with and say there is no barrier to anything, no barrier to entry, so let's just have a go at it and see where we get with it."

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