Nigel Owens heaps praise on Irish referee Joy Neville

Nigel Owens heaps praise on Irish referee Joy Neville

World Cup final referee Nigel Owens has praised Joy Neville after she hit another landmark over the weekend by becoming the first female to officiate a PRO14 game in Wales.

Neville was in charge of the Dragons' win over Zebre and the highly-rated Owens was impressed with the Irish official - and insists she is worth her spot on the referees' panel.

Owens added that: "Joy's emergence onto the elite group of officials is something that proves barriers are being broken down and the important thing to stress is that she is there fully on merit."

The fact that she is refereeing in a professional league is because of her ability, not a "box-ticking" exercise, Owens wrote in a Wales Online column.

The Welsh official did say that rugby's progressive attitude means that this is possible that there is a female referee - and one that is there on merit

"The change off the field has helped the change we have started to see on it in terms of the number of women and young girls playing the sport these days - and, of course, the emergence of Ireland's Joy Neville as a top referee," he wrote.

Further praising the Irish referee, he said: "She is not getting top professional games simply because she is a woman. She is getting them because, like the rest of us, she has worked damn hard and deserves her various match appointments on merit."

"I am pleased, because it perfectly demonstrates the inclusiveness and fairness of rugby union, but ultimately Joy is there because Joy is good."

"She is making her way up in the game, just as young Welsh referee Craig Evans is. One may be a woman, the other a man - but the common goal they share is ambition to referee at as high a level as possible and the proven ability, already, to do just that."

Digital Desk

More on this topic

The Grass Ceiling knows no boundsThe Grass Ceiling knows no bounds

Women’s International: Defeat for disappointing Ireland as late score earns Wales victoryWomen’s International: Defeat for disappointing Ireland as late score earns Wales victory

Mary O’Connor: Glorious sporting weekend will change outlook on women’s sportMary O’Connor: Glorious sporting weekend will change outlook on women’s sport

‘Women are not little men’ — how sports science is finally changing with the times‘Women are not little men’ — how sports science is finally changing with the times

More in this Section

Ireland V Denmark in numbersIreland V Denmark in numbers

For Irish football, the stakes have rarely been higherFor Irish football, the stakes have rarely been higher

‘We know we are not a crap team, we are a strong team’‘We know we are not a crap team, we are a strong team’

Ireland V Denmark: Who’ll be right on the night?Ireland V Denmark: Who’ll be right on the night?


Lifestyle

‘Children of the Troubles’ recounts the largely untold story of the lost boys and girls of Northern Ireland, and those who died south of the border, in Britain and as far afield as West Germany, writes Dan Buckley.Children of the Troubles: Loss of lives that had barely begun

With Christmas Day six weeks away tomorrow, preparations are under way in earnest, writes Gráinne McGuinness.Making Cents: Bargains available on Black Friday but buyer beware!

From farming practices in Europe to forest clearances in the Amazon, Liz Bonnin’s new show seeks solutions to some of the damage done by the world’s appetite for meat, writes Gemma Dunn.New show seeks solutions to some of the damage done by the world’s appetite for meat

Louis Mulcahy reads in Cork this weekend for the Winter Warmer fest, writes Colette Sheridan.Wheel turns from pottery to poetry

More From The Irish Examiner