Nigel Owens (born 18 June 1971 in Mynyddcerrig, Carmarthenshire, Wales) is a Welsh international rugby union referee, and was the only Welsh referee at the 2007, 2011 & 2015 Rugby World Cups.
Owens was appointed as an international referee in 2005, and officiated his first international between Ireland and Japan in Osaka. Owens made his World Cup debut in Lyon, France on 11 September 2007 in the Argentina vs. Georgia match. He is one of only two referees 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. He has since done a third final Leinster v Ulster in Twickenham 2012, as well as two Amlin finals makes a total of five European Finals.
He is one of the presenters on the Welsh language TV chats shows Jonathan and Bwrw'r Bar. Also now has his own quiz programme which he hosts on S4C called Munun i Fynd. In 2011 he was made a member of the Gorsedd of Bards.
Owens was raised in the small village of Mynyddcerrig, Carmarthenshire, Wales. He is a fluent Welsh language speaker. He was a school technician at Ysgol Gyfun Maes Yr Yrfa Cefneithin and youth worker with Menter Cwm Gwendraeth. His autobiography, Hanner Amser (Half Time), was published in Welsh in 2008, then in English in 2009. In 2011 he was made a member of the Gorsedd of Bards. He was a patron of the LGBT Centre of Excellence Wales, until its disbandment in late 2012, but he is still that of the Wooden Spoon Society rugby charity. In 2013 Owens became a patron of Bullies Out charity in Wales. He was made president of the Wales Federation of Young Farmers Clubs in 2010. Owens is a fan of Wrexham Football Club.
He is one of the presenters on Jonathan, a rugby-themed Welsh language chat show hosted by former Welsh international Jonathan Davies, broadcast on S4C on the eve of big international matches. He co-presents the sports-themed Welsh language chat show Bwrw'r Bar and now has his own show a quiz programme "Munud i Fynd". He is an after-dinner speaker.
In May 2007, Owens publicly came out as gay in an interview with Wales on Sunday. Although reactions have been generally positive, he says it was a difficult decision to make and that he had even contemplated suicide.
"It's such a big taboo to be gay in my line of work, I had to think very hard about it because I didn't want to jeopardise my career. Coming out was very difficult and I tried to live with who I really was for years. I knew I was 'different' from my late teens, but I was just living a lie."
Shortly after the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Owens was named 'Gay Sports Personality of the Year' by gay rights group Stonewall's gay awards ceremony in London.
To date Nigel Owens has refereed the following Test Matches:
- 2005 Japan v Ireland
- 2005 Argentina v Samoa
- 2006 Argentina v Uruguay
- 2006 Italy v Australia
- 2007 England v Italy
- 2007 New Zealand v Australia,
- 2007 Ireland v Italy
- 2007 Argentina v Georgia - RWC
- 2007 Scotland v Romania - RWC
- 2007 Australia v Fiji - RWC
- 2008 France v Ireland
- 2008 Italy v Scotland,
- 2008 New Zealand v England
- 2008 France v Pacific Islands
- 2008 England v South Africa
- 2009 Ireland v France
- 2009 Scotland v Italy,
- 2009 South Africa v New Zealand
- 2009 New Zealand v South Africa
- 2009 England v Argentina
- 2009 Ireland v South Africa
- 2010 Scotland v France
- 2010 Australia v England
- 2010 South Africa v New Zealand,
- 2010 Ireland v South Africa
- 2011 Scotland v Ireland
- 2011 Ireland v England
- 2011 Fiji v Namibia - RWC
- 2011 New Zealand v Japan - RWC
- 2011 USA v Australia - RWC
- 2011 South Africa v Samoa - RWC
- 2011 New Zealand v Argentina - RWC
- 2012 France v Italy
- 2012 England v Ireland
- 2012 New Zealand v Ireland (1)
- 2012 New Zealand v Ireland (2)
- 2012 New Zealand v Australia
- 2012 Australia v South Africa
- 2012 France v Australia
- 2012 England v Australia
- 2013 Italy v France,
- 2013 France v Scotland,
- 2013 Argentina v England,
- 2013 New Zealand v France,
- 2013 Australia v Argentina,
- 2013 South Africa v New Zealand,
- 2013 Ireland v New Zealand
- 2014 France v England
- 2014 Ireland v Italy
- 2014 New Zealand v England
- 2014 South Africa v Australia,
- 2014 Argentina v Australia,
- 2014 England v New Zealand
- 2014 France v Australia
- 2015 France v Scotland
- 2015 England v France
- 2015 Australia v South Africa
- 2015 New Zealand v Australia
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "Gorsedd honour for Gillian Clarke and Nigel Owens". BBC. 8 June 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-13685046. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- ↑ "Nigel Owens: Football and rugby could benefit from one captain's challenge per match...and why Luis Suarez MUST issue a sincere apology". Wales Online. 3 July 2014. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/luis-suarez-must-apologise-properly-7361671. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- ↑ http://www.yfc-wales.org.uk/yfc-officers/
- ↑ http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/fifa-must-stamp-down-play-acting-7253186
- ↑ Bevan, Nathan (20 May 2007). "Ref's gay torment". Wales on Sunday. http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0200wales/tm_headline=ref-s-gay-torment&method=full&objectid=19137450&siteid=50082-name_page.html. Retrieved 16 July 2007.
- ↑ "World Cup rugby ref's gay award". BBC News. 2 November 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7075666.stm. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- Rugby World Cup 2007 match official appointments set IRB.com
- Welsh ref Owens on World Cup list IcWales.co.uk
- Owens appointed as international ref
- Gay referee to officiate at Rugby World Cup – PinkNews.co.uk
- Quiz the Ref: Nigel Owens – BBC Sport, 15 March 2006