Who is the referee for England vs France in Women’s Six Nations? Meet the woman with whistle in The Decider

The refereeing team including the TMO for TikTok Women’s Six Nations decider has been announced

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England will make history at Twickenham this weekend as they welcome France in the final game of the Women’s Six Nations.

The Red Roses have sold over 53,000 tickets for teh Grand Slam decider on Saturday (29 April). It surpasses the previous highest ever crowd in women’s rugby of 42,579 seen for last autumn’s World Cup final against New Zealand in Auckland.

It provides another landmark moment in the expansion of women’s rugby, with England the standard bearers as they continue to pack out club grounds across the Six Nations. The Red Roses are looking to win a fifth title in a row, while France are hoping to be crowned champions for the first time since 2018.

But who will be the ref? Here is all you need to know:

Who is the referee for England vs France?

Referee Aimee Barrett-Theron. Picture: Joe Allison/Getty ImagesReferee Aimee Barrett-Theron. Picture: Joe Allison/Getty Images
Referee Aimee Barrett-Theron. Picture: Joe Allison/Getty Images

The woman with the whistle at Twickenham on Saturday for The Decider will be South Africa’s Aimee Barrett-Theron. The 35-year-old is a former professional rugby player turned referee.

During her playing career she represented South Africa at the 2010 World Cup in England. She started refereeing in 2014 and continues to see her star rise.

In 2021 she made history as the first woman to referee a United Rugby Championship (URC) game. She took charge of a game between Benetton and Ospreys.

She was selected as a referee for the 2022 women’s world cup. During the tournament she refereed the semi-final between Canada and England.

For the Six Nation’s title decider she will be joined by assistant referees Lauren Jenner (Italy) & Maria Heitor (Portugal). The women will be running the touch lines during the clash at Twickenham.

Who is the TMO?

Welsh referee Ben Whitehouse will be the television match official for the game on Saturday. He began refereeing at the age of 19 in 2009/2010.

Red Roses value to RFU rapidly ‘rising’

Rugby Players’ Association general secretary Christian Day is currently involved in discussions with the RFU over a new deal for women as their existing contracts expire this summer. Day believes that the Red Roses are now an important asset to the RFU and are becoming key to the sport’s prosperity.

“To me, when you look at how rugby is going to grow, you look at the women’s game,” Day said. “I don’t think anyone would have thought there would be 60,000 at Twickenham on Saturday and I wonder how many of those have been to an England game before.

“It’s a whole new market, a new demographic of fans, supporters and people who watch. Viewing figures on the BBC are all over one million, which is what the recent Saracens v Harlequins match did on ITV, so very similar numbers.

“The women’s game offers a huge opportunity for growth and who’s to say that there can’t be double-headers at Exeter, for example? That explains some of the investment but also why we need people to get behind this concept of women’s rugby being serious.

“We’re going through contracting now and we want a fair representation of what their value to the RFU is. I think it’s rising. I think they’re becoming a big part of the RFU brand and we know that it’s the players who generate the vast majority of money in rugby.”

For England star Emily Scarratt, who misses the France showdown because of neck and ankle injuries, women’s rugby has its own unique selling point.

“Generally there isn’t as much kicking in it and there’s a bit more ball in play time,” Scarratt said. “We try to find the edges and the width and there’s a bit more freedom in the play, which is a fantastic reason to come and watch it. People who come to the games generally really enjoy what they see.”