Nikki O'Donnell Six Nations Credit BFBS
Rugby Union

Army Nurse 'Didn't Expect' Six Nations Refereeing Call

Nikki O'Donnell will be an official at this year's Women's Six Nations.

Nikki O'Donnell Six Nations Credit BFBS

An Army nurse says she is ready for her chance to referee at the 2019 Women's Six Nations.

Nikki O'Donnell has been selected to be part of the refereeing team at the tournament after impressive officiating performances over the past six months.

She already has international experience, having refereed Wales against South Africa last year and says the Six Nations call came as a surprise.

She said: “Getting the game in the Autumn, I was not expecting that. I felt the game went quite well and my review went well. I thought I may have a chance.

"I didn’t expect a phone call to say I was going to have a Six Nations game."

For O’Donnell, her refereeing dreams are on another international stage but she is wary of her competition.

She said: "Ideally, I would love to say I could go to the World Cup. We will have to see performances go.

"There’s a lot of competition in the Rugby Football Union with some of the referees coming through. Some of the referees across Europe and the world are now pushing boundaries."

Nikki O'Donnell Six Nations Credit BFBS.jpg
O’Donnell spends most of her days in a medical environment, but she believes there are a lot of similarities between nursing and officiating.

"There are a lot of transferable skills,” she said. "There are things I can take from my nursing into rugby.

"Similarly, there are communication and organisation skills you can take from the pitch that can transition across."

As O’Donnell builds up her experience, she is keen to point others in the same direction and has this advice for anybody looking to be a referee.

She said: "I think the biggest thing is to take a breath and smile.

"If you are presenting a calm exterior, it gives you the chance on the inside to just process things and work out what is going on.