Friday 22 March 2019

Welshman Nigel Owens announced as the referee for the Rugby World Cup final

Referee Nigel Owens
Referee Nigel Owens Newsdesk Newsdesk

Welshman Nigel Owens will referee next weekend's World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand at Twickenham.

The 44-year-old Owens will, as expected, be in charge for rugby union's biggest showpiece occasion.

Owens was not involved in either of the World Cup semi-finals, but he is widely regarded as the game's premier official.

He tweeted: "Truly humbled and honoured to be given the privilege of refereeing #RWC2015 final. Thanks for all your kind messages and tweets. Means a lot."

"Nigel is clearly the best referee in the world - he's demonstrated that," former All Blacks fly-half Grant Fox said.

"We knew before this game (South Africa) that he had that job should we get the opportunity to play in that game (the final).

"One of the key things he does, apart from communicating incredibly well with players, is that he lets the breakdown breathe, and that is really important.

"If you want to get a good contest and spectacle, you have got to let the breakdown breathe a little bit, and he is really, really good at that."

Three British and Irish referees have previously controlled World Cup finals.

Owens' fellow Welshman Derek Bevan was in charge at Twickenham 24 years ago when Australia beat England, while England's Ed Morrison was appointed to the 1995 final between South Africa and New Zealand, with Irishman Alain Rolland officiating the England versus South Africa 2007 final.

Read more: 'I left a note for my mum and dad' - popular ref Nigel Owens opens up about suicide attempt

Ireland's John Lacey will ref the bronze final between Argentina and South Africa on Friday evening.

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