• Women’s international rugby to resume in November
  • Experienced match official team selected with more than 60 tests between the appointees
  • 18 match officials from six unions appointed as preparations continue for RWC 2021
  • Italy v Scotland Women’s Six Nations match doubles up as part of Rugby Europe Rugby World Cup 2021 European qualification pathway

World Rugby today confirmed an experienced team of match officials from six member unions to take charge of the remaining Women’s Six Nations and November test matches.

History maker - Joy Neville on acting as TMO in Autumn Nations Cup
Joy Neville shares her thoughts on being selected as a Television Match Official for the Autumn Nations Cup, in doing so making history as the first woman to perform the role for a men's test.

Hollie Davidson (SRU), Aurélie Groizeleau (FFR), Clara Munarini (FIR) and Nikki O’Donnell (RFU), who all made their Women’s Six Nations debuts as referees in 2019, are named.

Sara Cox (RFU), who recently became first female assistant referee to officiate in the English Premiership, and World Rugby Referee Award 2017 recipient Joy Neville (IRFU), who is set to make history as the first female TMO for a major men’s international competition in the Autumn Nations Cup in November, are also selected.

Davidson and Neville will also take charge of the November international matches between France and England. 

With more than 60 tests as referees between the six of them, the experienced panel will be supported by nine assistant referees and Television Match Officials from six member unions.

The selections have been made with ongoing COVID-19 travel and quarantining restrictions in mind, meaning that the selections for these matches come entirely from the European unions.


The match officials are continuing their preparations for Rugby World Cup 2021 which is less than a year away, with the ninth edition of the showpiece event kicking off in the southern hemisphere for the first time in its history on 18 September, 2021. Before that, there is also Tokyo 2020 to aim for.

Newly-appointed chairman of the selection committee Graham Mourie said: “We would like to congratulate the panel selected to participate in the upcoming Women’s Six Nations matches and November internationals. With an Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup taking place within the next 12 months, this is the opportunity for match officials to perform at the highest level as we return to international rugby.”

World Rugby Referee Talent Development Manager, Alhambra Nievas added: “Match officials are athletes in their own right, training at high-performance intensity and working hard to maintain fitness levels while this year’s rugby schedule has been disrupted due to the ongoing global pandemic. This has also given us the opportunity to work even more closely together on key areas such as the breakdown, with consistency the key aim. The team is prepared and excited to get back out on the international stage again and perform to the best of their ability.”

Match officials:

  • Sara Cox, RFU
  • Hollie Davidson, SRU
  • Clara Munarini, FIR
  • Aurelie Groizeleau, FFR
  • Nikki O’Donnell, RFU
  • Joy Neville, IRFU

Assistant referees

  • Beatrice Benvenuti (FIR)
  • Francesca Martin (WRU)
  • Clare Daniels (RFU)
  • Maria Pacifico (FIR)
  • Doriane Domenjo (FFR)
  • Katherine Ritchie (RFU)


  • Ian Davies (WRU)
  • Neil Paterson (SRU)
  • Alan Falzone (FIR)
  • Eric Gauzins (FFR)
  • Claire Hodnett (RFU)
  • Olly Hodges (IRFU)