Currie Cup

Jake White encouraged by Aimee Barrett-Theron's big step: All credit to her

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Aimee Barrett-Theron and Embrose Papier (Gallo)
Aimee Barrett-Theron and Embrose Papier (Gallo)
  • Bulls mentor Jake White was encouraged by Aimee Barrett-Theron's officiating after she became the first woman to referee a top-level match in South African rugby.
  • The former Springbok coach was impressed by her willingness to embrace the pressure of a game featuring many internationals.
  • He hopes this is a major step towards a fruitful career for her.


Jake White lauded the composure shown by Aimee Barrett-Theron following her performance with the whistle in the Super Rugby Unlocked meeting between the Bulls and Pumas on Saturday.

The 33-year-old notably became the first woman referee to officiate a senior 15-man match in South African rugby.

The Bulls' director of rugby remarked tongue-in-cheek that she was "outstanding" in the first half, a clear reference to his team's dominance in that period as they established a 21-0 lead.

But White was quick to note the significance of her achievement.

"This was arguably the biggest game she's blown in her career to date, she admitted that herself," he said.

"She was officiating World Cup players in this game and several other internationals too. All credit to her, everyone's got to start somewhere."

READ | Referee Aimee Barrett-Theron makes South African rugby history in Bulls win

Barrett-Theron perhaps wasn't as vocal as some of her counterparts, but still made her presence count, notably telling the two front rows sternly after several reset scrums that "this isn't how we scrum, sort it out", while also lecturing young Bulls fullback David Kriel for an off-the-ball incident.

"Part of what we're doing in South African rugby is to develop new referees. Aimee's got to gain experience somewhere," said White.

"We've produced some of the best referees in the world and if this is one of her steps to becoming a great international referee, then fantastic."

The former Springbok coach also noted that she would've been under immense scrutiny.

"It must've been tough for her, particularly at the start. Forget what it's like to have been a young player make his debut, imagine being a woman referee going into a game where she's reffing some of the best players in the world.

"Some would've scrutinised her more than they do other referees. It was an interesting experience and credit to her."

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Fixtures
Sat 23 Jan 21 14:00 PM (SAST)
Vodacom Bulls
Xerox Lions
Loftus Versfeld
Sat 23 Jan 21 16:30 PM (SAST)
DHL Western Province
Cell C Sharks
Cape Town
Sat 30 Jan 21 14:00 PM (SAST)
TBC
TBC
TBC
Results
Sun 10 Jan 21
Phakisa Pumas 44
Vodacom Bulls 14
Sat 09 Jan 21
Tafel Lager Griquas 18
Toyota Cheetahs 22
Sat 09 Jan 21
DHL Western Province 0
Cell C Sharks 0
Logs
Team
P
W
PTS
1. Vodacom Bulls
12
8
39
2. DHL Western Province
12
7
37
3. Cell C Sharks
12
7
35
4. Xerox Lions
12
6
34