Claire Hodnett
Claire Hodnett

A referee has been selected to officiate at the women’s rugby world cup for a second time.

Claire Hodnett, who has taken charge of international fixtures for seven years, will officiate at the tournament in Ireland from August 9 to 26.

She was a referee at the Women’s World Cup in France in 2014, where she took charge of four games.

Since then she has officiated in World Cup qualifiers, including a clash between Scotland and Spain in November, and Wales against Ireland in the Women’s Six Nations in March.

Hodnett is a follower of Newark Rugby Club and helped secure funds for the rebuilding of its clubhouse.

The solicitor lived in Newark for 20 years before moving to Nuneaton two years ago.

The selection panel reviewed her performance in recent international games before choosing her for the World Cup.

Hodnett said: “It is an incredible honour given how long I have been involved in women’s rugby and the way the game has changed.

“It is developing all the time and becoming more professional and that’s forced me to be even more committed to my approach to refereeing.”

Hodnett said she felt under pressure when she was refereeing international games.

“The added pressure for me is that all the games are televised,” she said.

“We have technology we didn’t have before so the challenge is to stay calm and stay focused.”

"Those close to me are absolutely over the moon"

Hodnett said it was difficult to balance her time between her full-time job, family commitments and her role as a referee.

“It works because I balance my time efficiently,” she said.

“Those close to me are absolutely over the moon and are chuffed to bits for me.

“They want to know where they can get tickets and when they can fly to Dublin.

“People have said some lovely things to me.”

Hodnett said the World Cup would be an intense experience because she would be officiating and reviewing games in a short space of time.

“I hope to go as far through the tournament as I can,” she said.

“I will just try to do my job and do it well but the reality is that I probably won’t make it to the World Cup final because England probably will.”

When asked if she would rather England make it to the final or officiate in the final herself, Hodnett said: “No comment!”