Planet Rugby

Owens honoured by WRU

03rd December 2013 05:49


nigel owens new zealand

Accolade: Nigel Owens

Wales' top referee Nigel Owens has been honoured by the Welsh Rugby Union for officiating 100 Celtic League matches.

Owens, who was on duty as fourth official at the final November international between Wales and Australia on Saturday, was presented with a specially commissioned plate by WRU president Dennis Gethin after the match to mark the milestone he passed when he took charge of Ospreys v Newport Gwent Dragons at the end of October.

Owens is currently regarded as one of the world's leading officials, and has received much praise for the way in which he handled both the South Africa v New Zealand game in the Rugby Championship recently, and the November Test match between Ireland and New Zealand.

"It was an honour to receive the award from the union in recognition of this achievement," said Owens.

"It is pleasing to reach 100 matches, especially in the RaboDirect Pro12 as you don't get to referee that many games per season in that competition.

"I'm pleased with where I am with my game at the moment but I'm conscious I always need to keep working hard to remain on the IRB panel. My aim is to make it to the 2015 Rugby World Cup."

As to the plaudits filling Owens' inbox of late, he is modest as ever.

"In those two matches in particular between South Africa and New Zealand and Ireland and New Zealand, the teams wanted to play rugby and when that is the case, it's a pleasure to be part of the occasion," added Owens.

"Nigel is now one of the most highly rated referees in the game," said Nigel Whitehouse, National Match Officials manager.

"His strengths undoubtedly include his excellent communication skills, his deep understanding of the game and the empathy he shows to the players.

"The best referees are the ones you don't notice and Nigel is a great example for our young referees coming through the system especially in the way he allows teams who want to play an open game to do so."

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