Historic decision in rugby: an Irish woman will be the first referee of a men’s World Cup

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In recent years, women have been gaining ground in sports spaces traditionally and historically occupied by men. And the Rugby World Cup in France, which runs from September 8 to October 28, will mark a new milestone in the fight for gender equality in high performance. Why Joy Neville he will become the first referee to be part of the adjudicating team of a men’s ecumenical tournament in that discipline.

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The 39-year-old Irish woman was announced this Wednesday from world rugby as part of the team of seven referees who will be in charge of video decisions (TMO or TV match officialsthe equivalent of VAR in football) at the French event.

“It’s a huge honor for her and for all of Irish rugby. We are very happy and proud of all Joy has achieved in her career and wish her the best of luck,” he said. Kevin Pottmanaging director of that country’s federation.

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Neville has a long history in the oval ball world. Born in County Limerick, a county in the south of Ireland, she started playing rugby at the age of 16. Between 2003 and 2013 you played 70 games for your country’s national team. In his final year with the team, Ireland won the six nations without losing a single game, which in northern hemisphere rugby is known as a “Grand Slam”.

Neville began his refereeing career in 2013 Twitter photo @IrishRugby

Neville began his refereeing career in 2013 Twitter photo @IrishRugby

Previously, she was captain in the 2009 Six Nations, against which the Irish achieved their first victory Franceand had played at the World Cup Canada 2006 AND England 2010in which he scored four tries.

The same year of her retirement (2013) she started her career as a judge and on August 26, 2017 she was the main judge in the final of the Women’s World Cup which was played in her country, in which New Zeland hit England.

In 2016 he broke a huge barrier when he umpired a match for the Rugby European Cup between Bath and Bristol and became the first woman to referee a professional European rugby match.

In October 2020, she served as the TMO judge for the Georgia vs Wales Test match and was the first female official at a senior men’s rugby match. And the following year she officiated, again within the “VAR”, three duels of six nations men in which England faced Scotland, Italy and France.

Awarded in 2017 with the Rugby World Referee Awardrecognition of his career and service to sport provided by the international federation, Neville will make history in four months at the World Cup in France, in which he Cougars will integrate the D group along with England, Japan, Samoa and Chile.

You will follow the steps, for example, of Stephanie Frappart, who last year became the first woman to referee a match in a men’s World Cup. In Qatar, the 38-year-old Frenchwoman led the fight which Germany he beat Costa Rica for 4 to 2 for the last date of group E and which led to the elimination of the selected German.

Neville will be part of a team of 26 officials, twelve referees, seven assistant referees and seven TMOs, who will officiate the 48 games of the French tournament. In the panel -where the presence of English is also highlighted Wayne Barneswho officiated 102 test matches (record) and will referee his fifth World Cup- there are representatives from nine nations: Australia, England, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, New Zeland, South Africa AND Welsh.

Source: Clarin

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