Solicitor Becomes International Rugby Referee


SOLICITOR Natalie Amor is a property expert who has excelled at her career in the legal profession.

But at weekends the 25-year-old swaps her paperwork for a whistle and shorts and heads out on to the pitch as a rugby union referee.

Natalie is so good she has reached international heights and is preparing to referee a match between the USA and Canada this month as part of the Women’s Nations Cup.

The appointment was made by the Rugby Football Union days before she is due to travel to Surrey for the match.

Natalie, who works at Cheltenham- based Willans solicitors, is one of a small number of women referees in the country and hopes to take her hobby all the way in the future by refereeing England.

“It’s a huge privilege to be chosen. It’s a dream come true to ref at international standard and so much more than I ever expected,” she said.

“In the beginning I wanted to have fun and exercise but it has led to so much more.”

Natalie, who lives in Cheltenham, has been a referee and member of the Bristol Referees’ Society for nine years.

She said: “My dad played rugby for Bristol and I was brought up on the sport.

“I saw a lady refereeing on TV when I was around 15 and thought I would give it a go.

“I ran the line every Saturday as a touch judge and after a season they gave me a chance to referee.

“I went to training sessions to learn the skills and knowledge necessary and I moved from adult games to league games and internationals.”

Her passion for refereeing has already taken her to Chicago for the Collegiate Championships and to the Philadelphia Pumpkin Fest tournament.

She has also refereed in Holland. She says the camaraderie and high spirits make braving the wind and rain worth it.

“In nine years of refereeing I have not had any trouble with men or women,” she said.

“And work has been very good to me as there is a lot of training involved.

“I would love to see how far I can go in England. I don’t see why a woman could not referee a men’s international and it’s certainly a possibility for the future.”

Jonathan Mills, a senior partner at Willans’ solicitors, said: “We are all very proud of Natalie.”

In October she is off to the Bahamas to referee an International Rugby Board Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifying tournament.

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