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Joy Neville to make history with officiating role as TMO at Rugby World Cup 2023 in France

Ireland's Joy Neville, a former Ireland Women Six Nations Grand Slam winner, makes history as the first woman to be selected on a men's Rugby World Cup officiating panel; Neville picked as one of seven TMOs; Wayne Barnes one of 12 referees picked, for a record fifth World Cup

BORDEAUX, FRANCE - DECEMBER 15:  Referee Joy Neville looks on during the European Challenge Cup match between Union Bordeaux Begles and Ensei-STM at stade
Image: Joy Neville has made history as the first woman selected on a Rugby World Cup officiating panel

Joy Neville has made history as the first woman to be named on a men's Rugby World Cup officiating panel, having been included as a TMO for the 2023 tournament in France this autumn.

Neville, a former Ireland international, is named as one of seven TMOs, while 12 referees have been named - including English quartet Wayne Barnes, Matt Carley, Luke Pearce and Karl Dickson, and Ireland's Andrew Brace.

Barnes and Pearce officiated at the last tournament in Japan four years ago, but Carley, Dickson and Brace are set to make their debuts.

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

Barnes has refereed a world-record 102 Tests and will officiate in a fifth successive World Cup, having made his tournament bow in 2007 - also in France.

Nika Amashukeli becomes the first Georgian to referee at the global showpiece event while Mathieu Raynal is the sole French official among the list of 12, following the retirements of Jerome Garces, Romain Poite and Pascal Gauzere, who all refereed in Japan four years ago.

11 February 2023; Referee Wayne Barne
Image: Wayne Barnes will referee at a record fifth World Cup, as one of four Englishmen selected

Raynal raised the ire of Australia last year when he penalised fly-half Bernard Foley for time-wasting close to his own line in a crucial Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand.

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The resulting set-piece allowed the All Blacks to overturn a 37-34 deficit with two minutes remaining and win the game.

The decision was described by some former Wallabies as a disgrace, but Raynal publicly stood by his call and was later named French Referee of the Year.

Eight of the 12 referees who took charge in Japan four years ago have been retained. The others are Australians Nic Berry and Angus Gardner, New Zealanders Ben O'Keeffe and Paul Williams, and South African Jaco Peyper.

Berry was at the centre of a storm during the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa when he was the subject of an hour-long video critique by Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus that was made public and earned the latter a ban.

Rugby World Cup match official panel

Referees: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia), Wayne Barnes (England), Nic Berry (Australia), Andrew Brace (Ireland), Matthew Carley (England), Karl Dickson (England), Angus Gardner (Australia), Ben OKeeffe (New Zealand), Luke Pearce (England), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Mathieu Raynal (France), Paul Williams (New Zealand)

Assistant Referees: Chris Busby (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France), James Doleman (New Zealand), Craig Evans (Wales), Andrea Piardi (Italy), Christophe Ridley (England), Jordan Way (Australia)

Television Match Officials: Brett Cronan (Australia), Tom Foley (England), Marius Jonker (South Africa), Brian MacNeice (Ireland), Joy Neville (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Ben Whitehouse (Wales).

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