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Ex-Ireland captain Joy Neville to take charge of potential Women's Six Nations decider

Helen O’Reilly and Simon McDowell will also be on duty during the Championship in 2017.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

FORMER IRELAND INTERNATIONAL Joy Neville has been named on World Rugby’s referees panel for the 2017 Women’s Six Nations.

The Grand Slam winner, who turned to refereeing after calling time on her 11-year playing career in 2013, is one of 15 officials selected for the Championship.

Neville will run the line during Scotland’s meeting with Wales on 24 February and Ireland’s visit to Cardiff on 11 March.

A week later, the Limerick native will take charge of the final game of the tournament as France face Wales at the Stade Amédée-Domenech in Brive.

Inclusion on the World Rugby panel caps a memorable year for Neville, who made history on two separate occasions throughout 2016.

Neville, who captained Ireland and made 70 appearances before her retirement, already broke new ground this season when she was named assistant referee for the European Challenge Cup game between Bath and Bristol last season, making her the first female official in European rugby.

Helen O'Reilly who is the 1st women to officiate as an assistant referee in the Guinness Pro12 Helen O'Reilly will also be on duty in February and March. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Last month, the former Ireland captain then became the first woman to referee a UBL Division 1A fixture when she took charge of Cork Con’s win over Clontarf.

Neville will spend much of the 2017 season on the road with the Women’s Sevens Series after being included in that particular selection for the first time.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Helen O’Reilly and Television Match Official Simon McDowell will also be part of the Women’s Six Nations officiating team.

For a for list of appointments, click here.

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Ryan Bailey

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