Nigel Owens MBE
WELSH INTERNATIONAL RUGBY UNION REFEREE
Nigel Owens is a Welsh International, World Cup and Heineken Cup rugby union referee. Born and raised in a small village in South Wales he was appointed as an international referee in 2005, and that year officiated his first international between Ireland and Japan in Osaka.
He was the only Welsh referee at the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups and is regarded as the first openly gay man to referee at the highest level. He made his World Cup debut in Lyon, France in September 2007 refereeing the Argentina vs. Georgia game.
He is only one of two referees ever to be appointed to referee two consecutive Heineken Cup finals: Munster v Toulouse at the Millennium Stadium in 2008 and Leicester Tigers v. Leinster at Murrayfield in 2009.
In 2007, Owens was named ‘Gay Sports Personality of the Year’ by gay rights group Stonewall at their annual awards ceremony in London.
In 2011, Nigel was made a member of the Gorsedd of Bards at their National Eisteddfod in Wrexham.
Owens was appointed as the referee for the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham. In 2016, Owens became the most-capped rugby referee when he took charge of the Fiji-Tonga clash in Suva, overtaking Jonathan Kaplan's record of 70 tests.
On 15 April 2017, Nigel Owens made his 150th Pro12 appearance when he took charge of the Judgement Day clash between Newport Gwent Dragons and Scarlets.