Owens 'humbled' to referee World Cup final

 27 Oct 2015 - 8:42

Owens 'humbled' to referee World Cup final

London: Welshman Nigel Owens said he was "humbled" to be chosen to referee Saturday's World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia.

It will be the first final for the 44-year-old veteran of 67 Tests, who will be assisted by France's Jerome Garces and England's Wayne Barnes, the referees from last weekend's semi-finals.

Owens was one of the first top figures in the world of rugby to announce he is gay in 2007.

"This is a huge honour and a privilege for me. I am humbled to have been chosen to referee the Rugby World Cup final," said Owens.

"This is my third World Cup and I think it has been the best.

"It has been inspirational. The quality of rugby on display has been incredible in front of packed venues and so to be given the opportunity to referee the final match between the best two teams in the tournament is an amazing honour."

Owens is the second Welshman to referee the World Cup final after Derek Bevan, who controlled the 1991 final that saw Australia beat hosts England. 

Owens came out with one of the remarks of the tournament when he said "if you want to dive like that again, come back here in two weeks and play, not today" to Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg when he was punished for diving at English football club Newcastle United's ground.

Rugby fans loved the dig at the reputation of rival footballers for diving.

Owens said he was delighted that hs father would see his son had achieved the greatest accolade a rugby referee could receive.

He said being named for Saturday's final was extra special because of difficult moments he had experienced.

Owens told the Wales on Sunday newspaper in 2007 that he had contemplated suicide because of how hard it would be to tell his parents of his homosexuality, as he was their only child.