I will not take any nonsense, says the groundbreaking referee Sara Cox

I will not take any nonsense, says the groundbreaking referee Sara Cox

"No nonsense!" This will be the message of Sara Cox, as she is the first woman to hold a top English game on Sunday, officiating as Northampton against wasps.

The 28-year-old, who was once subdued as England Under-21 Under-21, became the first professional referee in the world when she signed a contract with RFU in 2016.

Cox has already served in the championship and the Sevens World Cup, but will take over the Premiership Rugby Cup on Sunday.

Sara Cox is expected to be the first woman to play a top English game on Sunday. Previously she had a Greene King IPA RFU championship game between Cornish Pirates and Doncaster Knights on March 4, 2018 at Mennaye Field, Penzance, Cornwall (image)

Sara Cox is expected to be the first woman to play a top English game on Sunday. Previously she had a Greene King IPA RFU championship game between Cornish Pirates and Doncaster Knights on March 4, 2018 at Mennaye Field, Penzance, Cornwall (image)

Sara Cox is expected to be the first woman to play a top English game on Sunday. Previously she had a Greene King IPA RFU championship game between Cornish Pirates and Doncaster Knights on March 4, 2018 at Mennaye Field, Penzance, Cornwall (image)

The referees have been battling backchat this season, and Cox wants to get hot.

"If I have to enforce something, I will definitely enforce it," she said. "I like dealing with people and people. There are appropriate ways of communicating – like colleagues in an office – and we have to give examples.

"If I did not care, I would not do my job."

The English Rugby Club is catching up with the promotion of referees.

Irish Joy Neville is the current World Rugby Referee of the Year and has already taken over the Games in Challenge Cup and Pro14.

However, no women have supervised a first-tier test match, and this will be popular at the next year's World Cup in Japan.

Ireland's Joy Neville is the current rugby referee of the year

Ireland's Joy Neville is the current rugby referee of the year

Ireland's Joy Neville is the current rugby referee of the year

"Last year I had a lot of chances in the championship, the Women's World Cup in Ireland, the Commonwealth Games and the Sevens World Cup," said Cox. "I ticked it off when I left.

"I have to be physically and mentally prepared for everything. I do not know what that is. No one ever stopped me and said, "You'll never do that."

Cox was welcomed with open arms, but in Northern Ireland sexism has been an issue lately. Referee Grainne Crabtree has been maltreated, resulting in fines from the IRFU, but Cox is confident that she will not encounter any such problems.

"In all areas of life you meet such things, but I have not experienced anything in rugby," she said. "I worked in a recycling company and this brought with it its own challenges. If something came up, that's someone's opinion.

"The reception of players and teams was very positive. I am a referee. not Sara the referee, not a female referee. It's the Sara-Cox approach. I am my own person. "

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