Former Ireland international Joy Neville received the World Rugby Referee of the Year award in Monte Carlo last Sunday after a memorable 2017 which included officiating the Women's Rugby World Cup final and becoming the first woman to take charge of a men's international fixture when Norway hosted Denmark last month.
"It's amazing," Neville said after receiving the award.
"I retired in 2013 after we won the Grand Slam and to think that I'm stood here after refereeing the Women's World Cup final and I've a lot of people to thank for that.
"A lot of organisations but it's mostly down to my beautiful wife Simona down there, and my family, and I'm completely honoured to be here and to receive this and I thank you and everyone who has supported me throughout this journey."
The Limerick native is set to continue breaking records as she will become the first woman to referee a European professional fixture, when she officiates Challenge Cup clash between Bordeaux-Begles and Enisei-STM.
When asked about her prowess as a referee, she replied "“It’s all about knocking those hurdles down isn’t it? It’s all about breaking the barriers and creating opportunities for other females and males to come through. I thoroughly enjoy a challenge and once you’re enjoying what you’re doing, just keep at it.
“I’m really enjoying what I’m doing right now.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved