Former Ireland player, Joy Neville, will become the first female official at men’s Rugby World Cup later this year after she was selected as part of a seven-member Television Match Official (TMO) panel for the global tournament in France.
The former Ireland player says she wants to be recognised on her merit although she understands how significant the feat is.
“I’m delighted to have been selected but I’ve always asked to be graded equally with my male counterparts. I’m there to compete with the rest, I drop tags and labels. I wanted to get here on merit,” said Neville.
The former loose-forward captained Ireland and was part of the team that won the 2013 Six Nations grand slam before she took up officiating after retirement.
She also became the first woman to take charge of a top level men’s match in the United Kingdom in 2018, having been named World Rugby Referee of the Year a few months before.
She later switched to the role of TMO following the birth of her son just over two years ago.
“I had my baby boy two years ago and happened to be given the opportunity then to get into TMOing because I wasn’t able to be on field,” she added.
The 2023 Rugby World Cup will take place in France from the September 8 to October 26, where South Africa will be the defending champions.
Written by: Ntsako Mukhari