Tuesday 25 July 2017

'I forced them to make up' - Alan Quinlan takes the credit as Luke Fitzgerald and Nigel Owens bury the hatchet

Luke Fitzgerald and Nigel Owens at the Guinness PRO12 Awards yesterday
Luke Fitzgerald and Nigel Owens at the Guinness PRO12 Awards yesterday
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Luke Fitzgerald and Nigel Owens met up at the Guinness PRO12 Awards and seem to have put their differences aside after the former Leinster and Ireland star criticised how the Welsh referee interacts with players during games.

Comments made by Fitzgerald on The Left Wing on Independent.ie regarding Owens' unique style sparked a lot of debate and Twitter exchanges between the pair.

Owens' style of refereeing has earned him many admirers and some of his exchanges with players have become viral hits.

Speaking after one such incident in Munster's win over Glasgow in Thomond Park last month, Fitzgerald said: "He shouldn't be commentating on the game. His first focus is to make it a good spectacle, that he referees the game correctly.

"We're heading into a dangerous territory for me.

"It's a soccer thing, when you have everyone on the pitch talking to the referee, the referee trying to be too smart, trying to be friendly with the players

"I'd rather he just refereed the game well."

Owens refuted Fitzgerald's claims during a Q&A session on WalesOnline, stating: "I honestly have never prepared any one-liners or quotes to say in a game," he said

"All I do is referee the game which is what I’m there to do, and just say it as it is. My job is to referee the game and nothing else.

"I have the utmost respect for every player on that field and do not say things to belittle them or to have a laugh at their expense."

The pair came face-to-face at the Guinness Storehouse yesterday as the PRO12 honoured their top performers this season and shared a cordial handshake before Owens was awarded Guinness PRO12 Chairman’s Award to mark his contribution to the Championship over the course of the last 15 seasons.

Owens made his 150th Championship appearance at Judgement Day V in April to add to an incredible career which saw him referee the World Cup Final in 2015.

Irish Independent columnist Alan Quinlan got the pair together again last night for a photo to poke fun at the situation.

He tweeted: "I just forced these 2 to make up, actually I just  got @lukefitz11 to eat humble pie @Nigelrefowens"

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