“I’d like to think that I’m there because I’m good enough. I’ve always asked to be selected through merit and for no other reason. Drop all the other tags and labels” – Joy Neville to become first woman to officiate at men’s Rugby World Cup during this autumn’s event in France
Last Updated: 15/05/23 2:58pm
Joy Neville says selection on merit is more important to her than “tags and labels” as she prepares to become the first woman to officiate at a men’s Rugby World Cup.
Former Ireland player Neville has been selected as part of a seven-member Television Match Official (TMO) panel for the tournament in France later this year.
Neville told Reuters: “I’d like to think that I’m there because I’m good enough. I’ve always asked to be selected through merit and for no other reason. Drop all the other tags and labels.
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“I understand there has to be a first and then the culture will change and hopefully more opportunity will open up for others to come through.
“But from my perspective, all I’ve ever asked from the lads is to treat me the exact same, and they certainly do that.”
Neville, a former Ireland captain, was part of the side that completed a Grand Slam in the 2013 Women’s Six Nations.
She became the first woman to take charge of a top level men’s game in the United Kingdom in 2018, having been named World Rugby Referee of the Year a few months earlier, and switched to the role of TMO following the birth of her son.
“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.
“We soon saw that there was an opportunity for me to make it to a men’s World Cup as a TMO so it has been a bit of hard graft in the last couple of years.”