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Joy Neville To Join Irish Contingent At Sevens World Cup In San Francisco

Joy Neville To Join Irish Contingent At Sevens World Cup In San Francisco

With less than a hundred days to go to Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, the team of referees who will oversee the exhilarating action at AT&T Park in San Francisco has been named by World Rugby.

Joy Neville, who refereed at the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series tournament in Kitakyushu over the weekend, has been included in the match officials team for the RWC Sevens in San Francisco in July.

It will be an historic occasion for Irish Rugby as two Ireland teams – both the Men and Women – will play in the same Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament for the first time, while Neville, the current World Rugby Referee of the Year, will be making her RWC Sevens refereeing debut.

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The group of 19 match officials from 14 nations will take charge of a total of 84 Rugby World Cup Sevens games between July 20 and 22, in what promises to be spectacular and ground-breaking few days Stateside for the sport.

The highly experienced team of ten match officials who will preside over 52 matches in the 24-team Men’s competition are Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Craig Evans (Wales), Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Damon Murphy (Australia), Jeremy Rozier (France), Matt Rodden (Hong Kong), Richard Haughton (England), Damian Schneider (Argentina) and Mike O’Brien (USA).

The 16-team Women’s tournament, which involves 32 matches, will be officiated by a team of nine experienced referees – Alhambra Nievas (Spain), Joy Neville (Ireland), Sara Cox (England), Adam Jones (Wales), Ben Crouse (South Africa), Sakurako Kawasaki (Japan), Hollie Davidson (Scotland), Rebecca Mahoney (New Zealand) and Beatrice Benvenuti (Italy).

Several match officials have successfully transferred their skills and knowledge of the game as players to again reach the pinnacle of the sport as referees. Mahoney is a double Women’s Rugby World Cup winner with New Zealand, Haughton won a 2006 Commonwealth Games silver medal with England and was one of the quickest players of his generation, while Murphy also represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, finishing in fourth place.

As well as her well-documented Grand Slam-winning career as a player and captain with the Ireland 15s team, Neville also donned the green jersey in the Sevens code. She was a member of the Ireland Sevens squad that competed in European tournaments in 2012, a year out from the most recent RWC Sevens in Moscow.

World Rugby’s High Performance Sevens Referees Manager Paddy O’Brien said: “The Rugby World Cup Sevens only comes around once in every four years and is a major highlight of the Sevens calendar. Just like the players, our team of highly experienced match officials are preparing themselves both mentally and physically, ready to play their part in what is destined to be an outstanding showcase of rugby sevens in an iconic venue.”

The event is capturing the public’s imagination with over 60,000 tickets already sold and an innovative competition format meaning every match counts. The match schedule is due to be announced soon and fans are urged to snap up their tickets now to avoid disappointment.

Three-day passes (there is also a ticket exchange mechanism) can be purchased or fans can buy via the official domestic and international supporter tour programmes. For further details, please visit www.rwcsevens.com/tickets.

Interested in becoming a rugby referee? Click here for information on the IRFU referee pathway.