Joy Neville was on RTÉ’s Saturday Night Show this week where she opened up about her time so far as a professional rugby union referee.
The Limerick woman is a highly regarded and well-respected referee in both the men and women’s game today.
However, as is to be expected in today’s society, there will always be the nay-sayers who need convincing that Neville is in fact totally equipped and more than capable of officiating competitive men’s rugby union.
In this interview with Ray D’Arcy she gives an insight into how she deals with some of those doubters and sceptics based purely on her gender.
She recalls one specific encounter she had with an elderly man who questioned her ability to keep up with the pace of a men’s First Division tie in Northern Ireland. Neville also mentions how she finds humour the best way to deal with the occasions where her strides up the ladder of the refereeing of men’s rugby raises doubts based purely on the fact she is female.
Having had a successful playing career with Munster and Ireland herself as a back row until her retirement in 2013, Neville took up refereeing and reached the summit of the women’s game in that regard when she was chosen to take charge of the 2017 World Cup final. Now a regular Pro14 ref in the men’s game, it is fantastic to see Neville break down boundaries and continue to work her way up in terms of the importance and magnitude of matches she is being trusted to take control of.
Check out her interview with D’Arcy in the clip below, where she speaks about the attitudes she faces as a unique figure, being a female referee in men’s rugby:
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) December 2, 2017