United Rugby Championship

History-making SA ref Aimee Barrett-Theron likened to Nigel Owens

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South African ref Aimee Barrett-Theron
South African ref Aimee Barrett-Theron
Mattia Radoni/NurPhoto via Getty Images

South African referee Aimee Barrett-Theron has received praise for her handling of the Benetton-Ospreys clash in the United Rugby Championship.

Former Springbok women's player Barrett-Theron made history on Saturday by becoming the first woman to referee a URC match.

And Premier Sports commentator Mark Robson has likened her officiating to that of Wales officiating great Nigel Owens, who is known for his witty quips towards players.

A scuffle broke out between the players during the match, with Barrett-Theron saying: "I came all the way here to referee a rugby match, not look after children."

She also put the two teams' front rows in their place after they failed to bind properly at the scrums.

"You trained the whole week to play rugby, not to play silly games," she said.

On another occasion, she said to Benetton back Rhyno Smith, who got a second chance to kick a penalty to touch after the intervention of the TMO: "I think you can kick it further than that. What do you think?"

Barrett-Theron, a former Springbok Women's and South African Sevens representative, has played in two Rugby World Cups, and after hanging up her boots, took up refereeing in 2014.

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