‘I’m not your childminder!’ Female ref branded new Nigel Owens after cutting one-liners in Ospreys game

South African referee Aimee Barret-Theron has been dubbed the ‘new Nigel Owens’ after an impressive debut performance in the United Rugby Championship.

Barret-Theron became the first South African female to take charge of a URC game when she officiated the Ospreys’ dramatic victory over Benetton in Treviso.

And her performance certainly caught the eye – not just for her decisions, but for her on-field quips too.

Premier Sports commentator Mark Robson was moved to call her the “new Nigel Owens” for the humorous way she handled the 29-26 thriller.

After a spot of pushing and shoving between players just before half-time, she joked: “I’ve come all this way to referee rugby, not be a childminder. You’ve got ten minutes to sort it out.”

After a couple of scrums went down, she offered a similar quip to the respective front-rows, telling them they’d spent all week training to play the game, “not play silly games”.

On another occasion, Benetton fly-half Rhyno Smith had already kicked to touch once after Alex Cuthbert’s high tackle – only for a TMO review to deem Cuthbert’s infringement worthy of a yellow card.

That allowed Smith another chance to kick to touch, prompting Barret-Theron to say: “I think you can kick it further than that, what do you think?”

That saw Robson make his comparison: “The new Nigel Owens.

“She’s very funny. I like her – she’s got a sense of humour.”

His co-commentator, Thinus Delport, was also suitably impressed with how she had handled herself.

“For her first game on a really big stage, she’s done well,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of niggle, but she’s handled it and the pressure well. Really impressive.”


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