Joy Neville will make history as the first woman to referee a men’s Rugby World Cup

Joy Neville will make rugby union history in France later this year when she becomes the first woman to referee a men’s World Cup.

The Irish referee has been listed among the seven television referees for the tournament.

Neville, 39, controlled the 2017 Rugby Women’s World Cup final between England and New Zealand in Belfast.

Wayne Barnes, meanwhile, will lead a contingent of four English officials among the 12 referees selected.

Barnes has controlled the best 102 Tests in the world and will officiate at a fifth consecutive World Cup, having made his tournament debut during the 2007 run.

He is joined by Luke Pearce, Matthew Carley and Karl Dickson, and Carley and Dickson make their World Cup referee debuts.

The group of referees announced by World Rugby also includes Ireland’s Andrew Brace and Nika Amashukeli, who becomes the first Georgian to referee a World Cup, with England’s Christophe Ridley and Welshman Craig Evans chosen from among seven assistant referees.

“The journey to Rugby World Cup 2023 is not an easy one for match officials,” said Joel Jutge, World Rugby 15s high performance officials manager.

“There are fewer roles with so much public scrutiny, but I am proud of how the team has responded to the ups and downs, always open and acting with integrity.

“The selection is a milestone, and we have a lot of work to do before the start of the tournament with warm-up matches and the Rugby Championship.

“But this team has a great work ethic, unwavering spirit and great bond, and we will all benefit from spending more time together as we prepare for what will be a very special Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.”

The tournament begins on September 8 when France host New Zealand in Paris.

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