Tim Baker puts Hong Kong refereeing ‘on the map’ with Women’s Six Nations appointment

The 34-year-old hopes a good showing in the clash between France and Scotland will put his name in lights for this year’s World Cup and future tier one matches

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 February, 2017, 5:07pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 February, 2017, 5:07pm

Tim Baker will put Hong Kong refereeing ‘on the map’ on Saturday when he takes charge of the Women’s Six Nations clash between France and Scotland in La Rochelle.

The appointment follows Baker’s role as the assistant referee for last year’s men’s clash between Japan and Argentina, when he became the first Hong Kong referee to officiate in a tier one test match.

34-year-old Baker will also claim the title of the first Asia-based referee to officiate at Six Nations level and Hugh Watkins, the Hong Kong Rugby Union’s national referee development manager, hailed the appointment as a milestone for local rugby.

“It’s a landmark for a Hong Kong referee to be appointed to referee at the Six Nations,” he said.

“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.”

Baker served as assistant referee for last week’s Women’s Six Nations match between England and France at Twickenham and he is looking forward to the biggest challenge of his career to date.

“This is the highest level at which I have refereed,” he said. “I’m 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 is paying off.”

Following the completion of the Women’s Six Nations, the panel will be selected for the Women’s World Cup in August and Baker is eager to put his best foot forward.

“That’s my goal, as being selected for a World Cup in any sport is a massive achievement,” Baker said.

Opportunity knocks for Hong Kong ref Tim Baker as he officiates professional match in France

“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.”