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Top female referee Aimee Barrett-Theron, the first female to be included on the SA Rugby National men’s panel, will continue to break new ground when she makes Women’s Test debut later this month.

Barrett-Theron was included on SA Rugby’s National B Panel alongside the likes of Ben Crouse, Oregopotse Rametsi, Archie Sehlako, Lourens van der Merwe and Jaco Pretorius for the first time. This means that she will be eligible to officiate matches in the SA Rugby U21 Championship, a vast step-up from last year when she was included on the women’s panel.

She will make her Test debut in the Women’s Rugby World Cup Qualifier between Japan and Fiji in Japan on Tuesday 13, December. These achievements follow a rewarding year in which she was named as the only female South African referee to officiate matches at the Rio Olympic Games, she was named on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series referee panel, and served as an Assistant Referee in a Currie Cup match between Boland and the Cell C Sharks in Wellington.

Barrett-Theron also took charge of the SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial final between Border and Western Province in East London in September.

“We are very proud of Aimee,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux. “She is setting an example for referees across the world, and her achievements prove that anything is possible with the right attitude and determination.

“One of our objectives at SA Rugby is to continue to produce top-class referees, and Aimee has certainly lived up to those standards as she advanced through the ranks over the last few years. She also has to meet the same fitness standards as her male counterparts, and she does so with ease.”

Barrett-Theron was delighted with her latest achievements and said: “It has been an incredible year in my refereeing career, and being the first female to appear on a men’s national panel and to have the honour of officiating my first Test is the cherry on top.

“These are certainly great achievements, however, the most important factor is that I am living my dream and I hope to build on this in the years to come.”

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