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Neville to become first female official at men’s Rugby World Cup

Neville to become first female official at men’s Rugby World Cup

Irish referee Joy Neville will make history as the first female to officiate at a men’s Rugby World Cup later this year.

The former Ireland captain is named as a TMO ahead of the competition beginning in September, following her role during the 2023 Guinness Six Nations, where she was involved in both the Italy v Wales and France v Wales clashes.

She will make her World Cup debut as one of 26 match officials, comprising of 12 referees, seven assistant referees and seven TMOs.

This latest accolade is another one in a growing list for Neville, who refereed the 2017 Women’s World Cup final and became the first female TMO in a top-level men’s Test match in 2020 when Wales clashed with Georgia in the Autumn Nations Cup.

The 2013 Grand Slam winner is one of 13 officials from Guinness Six Nations sides, which include Wayne Barnes, who also makes history.

Referee Wayne Barnes

Barnes began his World Cup refereeing journey in France in 2007 and he returns there for his record-breaking fifth World Cup, looking to add to his leading 102 Tests as a referee.

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There is also a familiar name in the competition, as Welsh TMO Ben Whitehouse is named to follow in the footsteps of his father Nigel, who was an official in 2003.


Referees: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia), Wayne Barnes (England), Nic Berry (Australia), Andrew Brace (Ireland), Matthew Carley (England), Karl Dickson (England), Angus Gardner (Australia), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Luke Pearce (England), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Mathieu Raynal (France) and Paul Williams (New Zealand).

Assistant Referees: Chris Busby (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France), James Doleman (New Zealand), Craig Evans (Wales), Andrea Piardi (Italy), Christophe Ridley (England) and Jordan Way (Australia).

Television Match Officials: Brett Cronan (Australia), Tom Foley (England), Marius Jonker (South Africa), Brian MacNeice (Ireland), Joy Neville (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand) and Ben Whitehouse (Wales)