SA’s Barrett-Theron described as ‘new Nigel Owens’

South African referee Aimee Barrett-Theron has been likened to Nigel Owens after making a couple of humorous remarks on her Vodacom United Rugby Championship debut this past weekend.

Barrett-Theron chalked up a career milestone when she became the first woman to take charge of a URC match, in the game between Benetton and Ospreys.

The former Springbok Women’s player followed in the footsteps of Ireland’s Joy Neville and Scotland’s Hollie Davidson who had officiated league matches in PRO Rugby, this competition’s forerunner.

During the match, Barrett-Theron came up with a few quips that Premier Sports commentator Mark Robson enjoyed, leading to him dubbing her as the ‘new Nigel Owens’ in reference to the former Test referee who was renowned for his humour.

At one stage in the game, a scuffle broke out between the players, with Barrett-Theron saying: “I came all the way here to referee a rugby match, not look after children.”

She also addressed the two teams’ front rows after they did not 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 received plenty of credit for dealing very well with a difficult and tense match.

Photo: Mattia Radoni/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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