Now one of nine RFU professional referees, Christophe joined the Referee Scholarship Scheme when, having been a member of Leicester Tigers Academy Squad and playing his first senior professional game at 18, his career was cut short by a shoulder injury.

Having graduated this year, Christophe says: “The degree and referee scholarship works together. The learning flows between the two. For example, I presented my dissertation in front of a group, but as a Referee Scholar, we werealways practising our presenting skills. At every game, at every level, the referee has to go into the changing room to present to 22 strangers.”

“Being a scholar at the University of Gloucestershire you are challenged all the time; it’s relentless and there’s always something new to learn. Chris White, the Referee Scholarship Coordinator, is a professional and has a lot of experience that he passes on to scholars who all share their experiences every week.”

Christophe is now a regular contributor to the ongoing programme having settled in Cheltenham and is enjoying putting his Coaching Degree into practice.

The scholarship has welcomed referees from many Societies since Matt Carley became the first referee scholar over 10 years ago. Matt was a member of the Kent society and since then scholars have arrived from societies such as Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Wilts, Bristol, Gloucester and District, North Midlands, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Hertfordshire, London as well as Alex Marsh – the Pack your Boots RFU ambassador who joined from Australia, and the WRU.