Neville: A Women’s World Cup On Irish Soil Will Be Amazing
With four tries to her name over the course of the tournament, it is no surprise that Joy Neville has fond memories of the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Daire Walsh brings us the second part of Joy’s #WRWC2017 interview.
Joy Neville had already establish herself as a regular fixture in the Ireland team by the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup – she also featured at the 2006 tournament – and the influential back rower scored two tries in both pool wins over the USA and Kazakhstan in Guildford.
The clash with the US on August 24 was her 50th cap at international level, and it helped to make the tournament in England a positive experience overall.
“It was very positive. I scored two tries on my 50th cap against USA. I’ll never forget that day. It’s always good. I think with World Cups, obviously you strive to do the best that you can, and finish in the best place that you possibly can,” explained Neville, who cites former international Fiona Steed as ‘an inspirational figure’ in her early rugby development.
“A lot of preparation, time and management, and hard work, is put into a World Cup campaign. There’s a massive bond between yourself and the team players, and there’s always a good sense of team work. It’s always a great experience.”
After bringing her playing career to an end after the historic Grand Slam success of 2013, Neville missed out on Ireland’s last appearance at the World Cup three years ago. Philip Doyle’s charges recorded a magnificent victory over defending champions New Zealand in her absence, and while she did regret not getting a chance to test herself against the all-conquering Black Ferns, she felt it was the right time to step away.
“One of the reasons why I retired after the Grand Slam was I just felt my body had enough. I didn’t enjoy the training anymore. I loved playing the games, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. I knew that I was happy to finish on that high with the Grand Slam.
“I definitely found it difficult not being involved in the last World Cup in France, and especially due to the fact that I never got an opportunity to play against New Zealand. I went over for the three weeks to support the girls, and I did feel that they were going to do very well. Success breeds success, and an awful lot of publicity since then has been provided to the girls, and well-deserved as well.”
Indeed, with this summer’s World Cup taking place in Ireland, it has increased the anticipation around the current squad. Unprecedented demand for tickets had led to an increased capacity at the UCD Bowl for the pool stages, and Neville also believes Kingspan Stadium in Belfast will be an ideal venue for the final on August 26.
“I would love to have had the opportunity to play in a World Cup in your home country. It will be amazing, and I think it will be nice then to move on to Ravenhill (Kingspan Stadium) where the capacity is higher for more people to come and support the girls.
“I’m just hoping now that they do well. They get out of their group stages and perform, and do themselves and do their country justice. I’m sure they will,” she added.