IT is one of the oldest jokes in Scottish sport, and it’s one we like to tell against ourselves.

What do you call a Scot at a World Cup Final – the referee.

Except that Claire Birchmore, pictured in the red kimono, isn’t a referee but, as our picture shows, she was certainly at Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama in Japan and had the very best view of anyone of the presentation ceremony

The 35-year-old from the village of West Linton in the Scottish Borders watched on as Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the host country’s Crown Prince Akishino and World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont congratulated South African captain Siya Kolisi.

As one of the organising committee, the sports management expert helped with the medal ceremony, and her moment in the spotlight was deserved as she has poured countless hours into making the World Cup in Japan the success it became.

Birchmore was still hard at work yesterday morning helping the beaten finalists – England, in case anyone’s forgotten – depart for home.

Her big moment on Saturday was seen live on television around the globe with hundreds of millions of viewers tuning in to the final to see South Africa beat England 32-12.

One important person in her life didn’t actually catch it live – her mother. Vivien Birchmore ruefully confessed to The National: “I was getting my hair done in the local hairdressers and I only found out about it when my phone started beeping with loads of messages and pictures.

“My excuse is that I don’t watch rugby anyway.”

A graduate in psychology from Stirling University, Claire Birchmore started off her career in sport organisation at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow then moved on to the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the Asian Games in Turkmenistan in 2017 before being recruited for the 2019 Rugby World Cup as the Team Services Manager for Scotland’s pool A.

Her mother said: “She’s a very hard worker who usually stays in the background. Needless to say we are all very proud of her.”