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Tue, 7 February 2017

Tim Baker Becomes Asia’s First Match Official at Six Nations Level

Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) senior match official Tim Baker has been appointed to officiate in the 2017 RBS Women’s Six Nations (W6N), extending a series of premier appointments for Hong Kong’s top referee.

 The appointment follows on from Baker’s role at the Pacific Cup in Uruguay and his appointment as the assistant referee for the Japan versus Argentina match last year, when he became the first Hong Kong Referee to officiate in a Tier 1 test match.

“Tim has been on World Rugby’s radar for the past 18 months. With the World Cup in Ireland in mind, they invited Tim as a member of the panel for the Women’s Six Nations,” said Hugh Watkins, National Referee Development Manager at the HKRU, who hailed the appointment as a milestone in local rugby. “It’s a landmark for a Hong Kong referee to be appointed to referee at the Six Nations. We are delighted and thrilled for Tim. He’s worked exceptionally hard and he thoroughly deserves this appointment as just reward for his dedication and determination. Tim has put Hong Kong refereeing on the map.”

Tim Baker

Baker served as Assistant Referee for the opening round match between England and France at Twickenham on Saturday (4 February) and will move into the middle for France v Scotland (11 February) in France.

“It’s appropriate that Tim’s appointment comes at a time when women’s rugby is riding so high in Hong Kong, with the national team’s qualification for the World Cup,” added Watkins. “We hope that, on the back of a good performance, Tim may be in line to officiate at the Women’s World Cup in August, and before that, the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia. There is now a clear pathway for Tim to demonstrate his ability, but we will take it one step at a time.”

Baker said, “I’m hugely excited. This is the highest level at which I have refereed. As we saw in Hong Kong, the women’s game has grown so much over the last few years. The skill levels are higher and the players are faster and stronger. That means the match officials also need to be fitter, stronger and faster. I’m also honoured to be the first referee from Asia to be appointed to a Six Nations game. It is hugely exciting for me personally, of course, but I’m most pleased because it shows that the hard work we are putting in in Hong Kong is paying off.”

Following the completion of the Women’s Six Nations, the panel, (nine referees and five assistant referees), will be selected for the Women’s World Cup and Baker understands that this is an opportunity for him to impress.

“Making sure that I perform to the best of my ability will enhance my selection opportunities further. That’s my goal, as being selected for a World Cup in any sport is a massive achievement. That would also mark the first time that a match official from Asia would be selected to referee at a Rugby World Cup,” Baker added.

Baker is also eyeing the World Rugby U20s Championship and future Tier 1 appointments, “Refereeing test matches is my ultimate goal and with Japan hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup there could be more opportunities for me with teams coming into Japan to play prior to the World Cup. All I have to do is keep ticking the boxes and gaining more and more experience on the international stage.”

Rugby pictures: Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015, Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong Kong, Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015, Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong, Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014, Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013, Pictures of Chartis Cup 2012 and Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.

See other recent news regarding: Six Nations, Referee, Rugby, HKRU.

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