|Nigel Owens officiating the 2009 English Premiership match between Bath and Leicester Tigers|
|Date of birth||18 June 1971|
|Place of birth||Mynyddcerrig|
|Occupation(s)||Rugby union referee|
|Rugby union career|
|Rugby World Cup
Nigel Owens (born 18 June 1971) is a Welsh international rugby union referee. He is an international and Heineken Cup referee and was the only Welsh referee at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.
Owens was appointed as an international referee in 2005, and that year officiated at 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, this as well as two Amlin finals makes a total of five European Finals making him the most capped referee in European competition.
He is also known as a TV personality, as one of the presenters of the S4C chats shows Jonathan and Bwrw'r Bar. Owens also hosts his own quiz programme Munud i Fynd. In 2011 he was made a member of the Gorsedd of Bards.
Owens was born and raised in Mynyddcerrig, Carmarthenshire, Wales. He is a fluent Welsh speaker. He was a school technician at Ysgol Gyfun Maes Yr Yrfa Cefneithin and a 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 served at various times as secretary, chairman and president of the Wales Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. Owens is a fan of Wrexham Football Club.
Owens was appointed as an international referee in 2005, and that year 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 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 and has since refereed another final in 2012 Leinster v Ulster.
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."
- "Welsh ref Owens on World Cup list". icWales. 27 April 2007. Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Rugby World Cup 2015: Nigel Owens named on referees' list". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 8 April 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Gorsedd honour for Gillian Clarke and Nigel Owens". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 8 June 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- Pickup, Oliver (13 November 2014). "Nigel Owens target of homophobia: 12 things you might not have known about the Welsh international referee". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Owens, Nigel (3 July 2014). "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 (Media Wales). Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "Rugby ref Nigel takes over as YFC president". Wales Online (Media Wales). 22 September 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Owens, Nigel (11 June 2014). "Nigel Owens column: FIFA must stamp down on play-acting at Brazil 2014 or it could filter into rugby too". Wales Online (Media Wales). Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Bevan, Nathan (20 May 2007). "Ref's gay torment". Wales on Sunday. Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2007.
- "World Cup rugby ref's gay award". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 2 November 2007. 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