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Hollie Davidson and Joy Neville to officiate in PRO14 first

Hollie Davidson and Joy Neville will referee and serve as television match official in the game between Munster and Benetton, making it the first time the roles have both been filled by female officials in a men's professional match.

Hollie Davidson and Joy Neville to officiate in PRO14 first

Davidson was first due to take charge of a European Challenge cup game in January and a PRO14 fixture last month, however, both games were postponed.

The former Scotland under-20 scrum-half Davidson has refereed in the Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens and the Women's Six Nations, as well as being called to officiate at the Tokyo Olympics last year before its postponement.

Friday's game will be the first time she has officiated in a top-tier men's game.

Former Ireland international Joy Neville has also been called up as television match official for the game, having officiated in her first PRO14 game three years ago.

"Our elite referee pathway has greatly improved in recent years thanks to the efforts of our unions working together and it is very rewarding to see Hollie Davidson earn the right to make her debut this Friday after the disappointment of the postponement a few weeks ago," said Greg Garner, the PRO14's elite referee manager.

"The elite pathway has been put in place to identify match officials with the potential to referee at Test level and as a result we have now seen Andy Brace (IRFU) and Mike Adamson (SRU) appointed for Six Nations games this season.

"In addition, Joy Neville (IRFU) has also performed the role of TMO in rounds one and four of the Six Nations.

"It is also ground-breaking for the sport that Joy has been selected as the TMO for the game. We have a competitive group of referees now and it is great to see younger officials pushing through looking to hold the whistle on the biggest occasions."

Author: Jake Wilkin