University of Gloucestershire student Christophe Ridley was appointed as an assistant referee for the European Rugby Challenge Cup qualification game between Italian side Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo and Russia’s Enisei Rugby Club.

The third year Sports Coaching student traveled to Italy as part of the refereeing team led by Tom Foley.

Christophe, who in his teens, was part of the Leicester Tigers Academy, began refereeing four years ago after a bad shoulder injury cut short his playing career.

RFU Referee Manager and former international official Chris White, from Cheltenham, then approached Christophe about becoming a referee.

White said: “Christophe has continued his development as a referee by his appointment to referee and assistant referee in the European third tier.

“In England Christophe has recently been appointed to three Championship fixtures and is the youngest referee operating at this level.”

Christophe began his degree in 2013 at the University of Gloucestershire and also joined the university’s Referee Scholarship Scheme. Currently he is part of the PGMOT (Professional Group Match Officials’ Team) and operates at Level 2.

He recently refereed his first Greene King IPA Championship game between London Scottish and Cornish Pirates.

Christophe said: “The RFU and in particular Chris White has been outstanding in supporting my development; my goal is to help the game and push myself to become a world class at what I do.

“I am excited to be involved in a European competition. It was great to be working with an experienced referee this weekend.”