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    17 June 2023

    Sara Cox receives MBE in King’s Birthday Honours for contributions to rugby union

    Sara Cox: The First Female Referee in Men’s Premiership Rugby Match Awarded an MBE

    In a groundbreaking moment, the world’s first female professional rugby union referee has been recently awarded an MBE. Sara Cox, who hails from Exeter and is just 33 years old, made history by being the first-ever woman to take control of a men’s Premiership Rugby match in 2021.

    Cox did not stop there as she was also the first woman ever to officiate any men’s top-tier game in England during a Premiership Rugby Cup game back in 2018. Her incredible achievements and contribution to the sport have now been recognized on her inclusion on King’s Birthday Honours list for services rendered to rugby union.

    “I’m really proud; there are many years of hard work that have gone into it,” said Cox, who turned professional as a referee after injury cut short her playing career.

    Despite encountering challenges and setbacks along the way, including times when she wasn’t sure if refereeing was right for her anymore, Cox persevered with determination and dedication which led her way towards this incredible milestone.

    “To get an MBE nicely encompasses all the hard work that I’ve gone through and some of the sacrifices that I’ve had to make as well.”

    A Woman Breaking Stereotypes And Overcoming Barriers In A Male-Dominated Sport

    Cox recalls how gender bias gets taken out of context once you step onto a rugby pitch; what matters is doing your job professionally – just like those guys who play alongside you. She regularly officiates in the men’s second-tier Championship and the women’s Premier 15s competition, constantly earning respect from both players and fans alike.

    “The gender side of stuff gets taken out of it once you get onto a rugby pitch,” she told. “You’re there to do a job and you’re there to be professional, just like those guys that are on there.”

    Cox: Unwavering In Upholding The Values Of Rugby Union

    As one of the most respected referees in rugby union today, Cox believes in upholding values such as respect for all players regardless of gender or background. Despite facing pressure during some intense games where decisions might not have been popular with certain teams or individuals, Cox never fails to maintain professionalism while keeping the game fair.

    In conclusion, Sara Cox is truly an inspiration to many people who dream about overcoming barriers and breaking stereotypes. Her incredible achievements will go down in history books as she continues inspiring younger generations – not only women but also men- to pursue their dreams relentlessly.

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