- This week the RFU is celebrating Women's Sport Week
- Referee Clare Daniels wants to inspire aspiring female refs
- The incredible story of Georgia Tayler
The first female official in Aviva Premiership Rugby history, Clare Daniels, has urged girls and women to take up officiating as she looks to inspire the next generation of female referees.
Daniels made history in September 2016 by becoming the first female official in an Aviva Premiership Rugby match when she was made fourth official for Bristol vs Exeter Chiefs.
And Daniels encourages girls and women thinking of trying officiating for the first time to give it a go as she looks to promote the game of rugby to more females.
“Having female officials on the top of the game will hopefully make it a more normal thing eventually,” she said.
"It will be lovely in years to come to see this being something that is talked about as just being normal.
“Hopefully it will be something other women and girls see and think ‘there’s no reason why I can’t do that’ and encourage more women and girls to get involved in officiating.”
Last season, Daniels completed another first when she was named assistant referee for Exeter's Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Cardiff Blues - making her the first the first female assistant referee in top-level men's rugby - and she has already set the record for the most caps as a referee in women's Test matches.
“I got into rugby because it is for all shapes and all sizes. It doesn’t matter whether you were tall, short, big or small, quick or slow, there was a place for you on the team and that’s why I love rugby,” she added.
“It’s just a sport that involves everyone. My best friends are now people who I have met through rugby, it’s just creates a close net of good friends and that’s all because of team sport and rugby in general.
'Rugby is the best team sport in the world'
This week marks Women's Sports Week, and Daniels believes there are many life benefits for women taking up a sport, especially rugby.
“I was never into sport as a young woman; I didn’t get into sport until I was in my 20s but I wish I have got into it earlier," she said.
“Rugby is the best team sport in the world in my opinion and the game’s core values bring so much to it. The skills you learn as a match official are so transferable into everyday life and professional life.
“I would encourage any girls and women who are thinking about getting into match officiating to give it a go because they won’t regret it.”