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Joy Neville

Professional Rugby Referee

Joy Neville

Former International Rugby Captain & Current International Referee

Professional rugby referee Joy Neville is a a former International rugby player and Ireland Captain. In 2016, Joy became the first female professional rugby referee to take charge of national leagues of Ireland, Wales and Italy matches. Joy has also refereed some of rugby’s most prestigious competitions such as the British and Irish Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the Pro14. In 2017 Joy shattered the barriers in a traditionally male dominated sport to be named World Rugby Referee of the Year in 2017.

Current professional rugby referee Joy, also enjoyed an incredibly successful International rugby career. Captaining the Irish Women’s Rugby team during the 2009 Women’s Six Nations Championship, Joy led them to their first win over France. Additionally, Joy represented Ireland at the 2006 and 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cups. Joy was also a key member of the Ireland Grand Slam winning team at the 2013 Women’s Six Nations Championship. As well as her glowing ruby career, Joy is also an ambassador for Cliona’s Foundation & The Simon Community in Limerick. In 2023 Joy once again made history by being appointed the first ever female to officiate during a Rugby World Cup being named as a Television Match Official. in 2024 Joy will take up a new role as Referee Development Manager at Connacht Rugby to recruit, educate and retain referees as well as develop refs from Trinee Referee to National Panel when she retires form officiating at the end of the current season.


Named World professional rugby referee of the Year 2017, Joy speaks knowledgeably about diversity, inclusion, and breaking the mold in a male dominated environment. A regular contributor on the speaking circuit, Joy is a captivating and engaging speaker and a wonderful addition to panels in both sports and business arenas.

  • High Performance
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Teamwork
  • Breaking the mold in a male dominated environment


To book Joy for your event, contact Front Row Speakers on +353 1 485 3991 or email
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