"Hats off to Oliver" - We got Joy Neville's perspective on the Buffon incident

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"Hats off to Oliver" - We got Joy Neville's perspective on the Buffon incident


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On Sunday, rugby referee Joy Neville earned further recognition when she won Rehab Sports Person of the Year at Dublin's Mansion House.

The 70-times capped former Irish rugby international and 2013 Six Nations Grand Slam winner joined us on Off The Ball today to discuss a career that has now taken her from the playing echelons to winning World Rugby Referee of the Year in 2017.

But she also gave us her thoughts on some of the incidents involving referees in all codes after a week in which Premier League referee Michael Oliver was in the eye of the storm after being confronted by Italy and Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon in the dying seconds of last week's Champions League quarter final second leg - for a correct decision.

"Do you know what? Hat's off to Oliver. I mean, that is not an easy thing to do and we've discussed this among elite referees," she said.

Gianluigi Buffon and Juventus Football Club's players have words with English referee Michael Oliver during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg match Real Madrid v Juventus at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, April 11, 2018. Photo by Acero/AlterPhotos/ABACAPRESS.COM

"As a referee, you do not want to make any decisions to, I suppose, that would lead to the outcome of the game, in the 92nd minute, not only to award a penalty - which in my eyes was a right decision - but also to red card a player and a player of that caliber and experience and that legendary title that he has.

"Like, I'm a massive fan of Buffon and my wife Simona is a massive Juventus fan as well and loves him but look, in the end of the day - and she sees it from a referee's eyes now and she's probably quite protective of me when I said to her, 'Would you like if a player came up behind me and nudged me or pushed me?' I think he made both correct decisions. It's very unfortunate that happened to Buffon and I know emotion and I know it's his last year before he was retiring and to qualify for the semi. But he has to take responsibility for his actions unfortunately. It doesn't define him one instance. It doesn't define him for a massive wonderful career that he's had but I think in fairness to the referee, he was spot on."


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