Hollie Davidson appointment is a breakthrough moment for the Scottish rugby referee

Hollie Davidson will take charge of the European Challenge Cup match between Newcastle Falcons and Castres, her first men’s professional referee appointment.

Hollie Davidson will referee her first men’s professional match when she takes charge of Newcastle Falcons v Castres. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS
Hollie Davidson will referee her first men’s professional match when she takes charge of Newcastle Falcons v Castres. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

The Scottish official from Aberdeenshire has been an assistant referee in both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup this season and was touch judge for Saturday’s 1872 Cup clash between Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield.

She also refereed the second women’s November international between England v France at Twickenham.

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Davidson will now follow in the footsteps of Joy Neville, the first woman to referee a top-level men’s match in the UK.

Scottish referee Hollie Davidson in action during a Women's Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland.

The Challenge Cup tie between Newcastle and Castres takes place on January 16 and Davidson said: “I couldn’t quite believe it when I got the phone call. I am hugely excited by the appointment, and I’m looking forward to being tested at the next level of rugby. I’m sure I’ll have butterflies in my stomach but I’m just looking to go out there and do the basics well.

“It was great to be involved in the England v France women’s fixture back in November. To referee a game of that standard mid-pandemic was a privilege.

“I feel very fortunate to have been involved in both international and professional-club fixtures during these uncertain times as it has kept my brain ticking over and I feel it has put me in a strong position building up to this career milestone.”

Andrew Macpherson, Scottish Rugby’s referee development manager, said: “On behalf of Scottish Rugby, I would like to extend my congratulations to Hollie on the appointment to her first professional men’s fixture. It is fantastic to see her hard work recognised and she thoroughly deserves this opportunity.”

England’s Sara Cox will also make her debut as a referee in European competition when she takes charge of the Challenge Cup tie between Agen and Benetton on January 15.

Three other Scottish Rugby Union refs will take charge of matches in rounds three and four of the Champions and Challenge Cup; Ben Blain at Pau v London Irish on January 15, Mike Adamson at Montpellier v Wasps on January 16 and Sam Grove-White at Worcester v Pau on January 23.

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