Scottish Rugby appoints first female referee; Konkel joins French Top 8

The SRU have announced the appointment of the country’s first ever contracted female referee.

Former Scotland Under 20s international Hollie Davidson referreed her first international as part of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series earlier in the year and joins Mike Adamson as part of a growing group of Scottish referees edging towards the top levels of the game via the Sevens circuit.

The 24 year old will represent the SRU as a contracted match official and joins the Scottish Referees High Performance structure to receive the professional support needed to continue her development towards becoming a test referee.

A former half back, Davidson picked up the sport while at school in Aboyne, before going on to play for Edinburgh University and BT Women’s Premier League side Murrayfield Wanderers.

She first discovered an interest in match officiating on a women’s only refereeing course held by Scottish Rugby in October 2015 and progressed rapidly, competing her Level 2 course and gaining invaluable experience at tournaments in Scotland and on the continent.

After already officiating at four of this season’s World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series tournaments this year, Davidson is also appointed to referee at several Rugby Europe tournaments throughout June and July. She hopes to continue to develop at International Sevens with the aim of being selected to officiate at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 202o.

Another big piece of news is that 27 times capped Scotland Women star Jade Konkel is set to join one of the top female French clubs next season.

The back-row helped club side Hillhead Jordanhill to win the Sarah Beaney Cup in April and featured in Scotland Women’s historic wins against Wales and Italy in this year’s Six Nations – their first victories in the Championship since 2010. Konkel was also named player of the match in the narrow loss to Ireland after scoring two tries.

A partnership between Scottish Rugby and Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois (LMRCV) will now see Konkel play in the French Top 8 – the country’s elite women’s rugby competition.

She will remain a Stage 3 player in the BT Sport Academy – Scotland’s only female professional so far – and be available for Scotland Women selection during periods like the Six Nations.

Villeneuve d’Ascq are based in northern France near Lille and were runners-up in this year’s Top 8 final against Montpellier, having won the competition in 2016.

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A proud Welshman, James has been writing about sport for over 8 years now, covering rugby union, rugby league and football for a number of publications. He worked in the media departments at a historic non league football club and a Championship Rugby League club, before moving to Scotland to work as a shepherd.Not content with just writing about sport, he spends what little spare time the sheep allow him to coach youth and women's rugby.
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