Joy Neville reacts to her appointment to referee the Women’s World Cup Final.
Limerick’s Joy Neville was today assigned the task of refereeing England and New Zealand in the Women’s World Cup final at Kingpan Ravenhill on Saturday evening.
Neville enjoyed a hugely successful club and international career amassing over 70 international caps and being part of the 2013 Grand Slam winning side. She also entered the history books in 2016 when she became the first female official in European rugby as a touch judge in the game between Bath and Bristol.
She will be joined by Scotland’s Hollie Davidson and Graham Cooper of Australia. The television match official will be Ireland’s Simon McDowell.
Speaking to Sporting Limerick, Neville says she is still in shock at being picked for the tournament main event.
“I think I am somewhat shocked, being sat here today looking forward to refereeing in a World Cup Final on Saturday and I’ve worked hard for it.
“Even if I wasn’t selected for it, I have enjoyed the experience, I have went out to enjoy every single moment and I have done. This is just the candle on top of the icing on the cake.”
— Joy Neville (@JoyNevilleRef) August 24, 2017
Neville also praised the team ethos and atmosphere amongst the officials at the tournament and says that the tournament has been hugely enjoyable experience. From retired player to international referee within the space of four years represents a meteoric rise for the former Irish star.
When setting out on her journey to become a referee Neville would scarcely have believed that she would be destined to referee at the highest level.
“If you asked me when I first started refereeing if this would be a possibility, I would have said not in a lifetime. I think this is a whole new chapter in my life.
“The opportunities that have been given to the likes of myself and my colleague Helen O’Reilly – who was the first female to officiate in the Pro12 – has just been wonderful.”
— Rosie Foley (@FoleyRosie) August 24, 2017
— Niamh Briggs (@niamhbriggs15) August 24, 2017
The two best teams have made their way to the final and the woman it the middle is expecting a cracking game of rugby between the two heavy weights of the tournament with no quarter asked or given.
“It’s going to be massive, physically and tactically it’s going to be a massive match. You have to look at two very strong sides. Both well capable of a kicking game, the back three extremely effective, fast and well capable of scoring tries and then the forwards are so physical.
“Everyone is going to get a very entertaining display of rugby on Saturday and actually in saying that in the 3rd -4th playoff and obviously Ireland playing Wales in the 7th and 8th it is going to be an exciting weekend of rugby.”
You can listen to Joy’s conversation in full on the link below.