Sunday 17 December 2017

'Thanks for new passport'– Rugby referee Nigel Owens praises Leinster fans for creative banner

Rugby referee Nigel Owens
Rugby referee Nigel Owens
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Rugby referee Nigel Owens was impressed by the efforts Leinster supporters went to after his passport ordeal last Friday prior to the Guinness PRO12 match at the RDS.

The Welsh whistler missed his flight out of Bristol Airport on the morning of the match between Leinster and Zebre after he realised he left his passport behind him.

"Help @Ryanair didn't know I had to have passport to travel with u to Ireland. Stuck in Bristol Airport. refin Leinster v Zebre tonite," he posted on his Twitter account at half six this morning.

Owens was forced to return home to retrieve the passport, with the airline contacting the referee in response to his complaint.

"Sorry to hear about this, you can get all the relevant info regarding travels docs here," they tweeted and sent a relevant link with travel information.

Owens complemented competitors Aer Lingus on a situation that wouldn't arise on their airline he argued.

"Nightmare. Have to drive home from Bristol Airport to get my passport cos @Ryanair won't take ID like @AerLingus. Hold koff for me Leinster," he added.

The whistler later went on to thank Aer Lingus for sorting out the "debacle" and allowing him to concentrate on his duties that night in Dublin.

In the ground a group of Leinster fans made light of the situation by producing a banner which Owens himself found amusing.

"Rugby best team sport in the world. Even time for banter after a tough match. Ta for new passport Leinster supporters," he tweeted this evening.

The airport incident was a role reversal from last November when Owens took to social media to vent his frustration at Aer Lingus.

Owens was due to referee the final Ireland match against Australia for the Autumn international and was flying in early to appear at a questions and answers session at Blackrock College. However, his Aer Lingus flight was delayed from Bristol airport and Mr Owens took to Twitter to express his disappointment.

“Due to do a Q&A at Blackrock College Dublin this morning for some of the kids project work, Flight delayed for 2hours. Sorry I won’t make it,” he tweeted.

A short time later, the ref took to Twitter again to complain directly to Aer Lingus about his lack of movement.

 “Flight delayed again now till at least 12.15pm. Been sat in Bristol airport since 7am now. @AerLingus whats going on? AR1 Ire v Aus tomo”

Quick as a flash, Ryanair nipped in to tweet Owens, with a bit of free advertising to his 101,000 followers: “We’ll get you to the Aviva on time Nigel, on the lowest fares & you can pack extra whistles in your 2 free bags!”

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