By Clare Daniels
*Clare will referee at the Women's Rugby World Cup
I can only compare the final few weeks anticipation before the start of the Womens World Cup to the 10 minutes that players and referees all endure before kick-off at a match.
You know the feeling, you cant keep still, crank up the iPod, get agitated, start fidgeting and pound the changing room floor, even visit the loo for the umpteenth time!
At times it seems like an eternity, but we all know how quickly time flies and, before we know it, August 20th will be upon us.
The date has been circled in my diary for a long time and as the match officials team is scheduled to arrive in Surrey on the Monday (August 16), all my World Cup goals are geared towards that date.
And I know the same can be said for many of my colleagues from across the globe, who are all busy with their World Cup preparations too. Thankfully, social media sites like Facebook help us all to stay in touch and keep up to date with how things are progressing.
For me, following the two Tests in Edinburgh involving Scotland and South Africa in June, it was straight into a weekend of 7s officiating before a welcome and much-needed two-week break.
After that, I upped my training and am hoping the results pay off at another weekend of 7s (which is always a great test) before an RFU fitness test which looms at the end of July.
Unusually for me, given the choice between three tests, I plumped for the dreaded bleep test, which I loathe. Why? Well I was quietly confident of completing the other two, so thought in a moment of madness that it would be good to push myself against the guys in the bleep. Oh how I may well live to regret that one!
And I know the other referees taking part in World Cup are also working hard too. Gabbriel Lee (Hong Kong) is currently dodging a hurricane (now theres good fitness training!), while Dana Teagarden (USA) is off to Scotland for their training game against the Irish.
My Kiwi friend in the land of the long white cloud, Nicky Inwood, is also putting in the hard yards, having also completed the Speights Coast to Coast run (Google it it sounds like utter madness!).
Back on home turf, there will be lots of other match officials involved with fourth and fifth official duties on World Cup game days and so the RFU is running some workshops across the country for those involved.
As many will now, this can often be one of the toughest jobs a referee will have to undertake off the pitch as there are a lot of duties that need to be undertaken. Time keeping, sin-bins, substitutions, blood-bins, keeping an eye on touchline discipline from team management, replacements, water carriers, medics and the most important one sweets and snacks for the referee at half-time.
Seriously, though, this role is often one of the most thankless tasks we undertake, but it is also one of the most important and it is great that so many other women involved with match officiating are being engaged with the Womens World Cup.
For me, the final four weeks cannot pass quick enough now. August is shaping up to be a really exciting month both on and off the pitch as I try and hit my target fighting weight, reach my fitness goals and contain my excitement at being able to get back out there and referee.
*So, stay healthy and injury free, and heres to kick-off in Guildford.
For more information on refereeing, visit www.rfu.com/takingpart .