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Woman rules rugby

When your name is on the South African Rugby Union’s (Saru) referee panel, you are doing a great job.

But if you are only one of six women in South Africa – and the only female in the Free State – to be a rugby referee, it means much more.

The young and energetic Mabote Motshidisi, better known as Mummy, was born in Qwaqwa, raised in Welkom, and is the only female rugby referee in the Free State. Mummy used to play rugby before she became a referee. She loves the game.

Five years ago, with the encouragement of Ntate Elliot, development officer at Griffon Rugby, she decided to become a referee. Mabote completed the required fitness test and law exam that included all 22 rugby laws to become a Saru referee.

Although she loves to play rugby, it is her passion to be a rugby referee, especially for men’s rugby games. She has been on the South African referees panel for the last four years.

“The first year of being a referee was very rough. Most of the men thought I did not know what I was doing, but I most definitely proved them wrong. I am now invited by many schools to be a referee to boys’ rugby games,” she says.

There are many opportunities as a woman referee. She is currently refereeing at the women’s IPL A-Section and hopes to become a world-known rugby referee and to referee matches oversees.

In 2015 she was the referee for the IPL women’s B-Section final matches, and in 2016 and 2017 she acted as referee in the final matches of the girls’ u.16 and u.18 rugby teams.

  • She has been working for the Matjhabeng Municipality (Sport and Recreation) for the past eight years. She loves to gym and is also a qualified rugby coach. Her message for Women’s Day is: “Women can do the same things as men, although we don’t think so.

“We must stand together for women rights, and we must support each other in whatever we are doing.”

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