Popular Welsh referee Nigel Owens has confirmed that his 100th test match this weekend could be his last in a exclusive interview with the Telegraph.
The 49-year-old oversee France’s Autumn Nations Cup clash with Italy on Saturday in his second outing of the newly-created tournament that replaced the traditional end of year tours which were scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
His first outing was England’s 40-0 win over Georgia on November 14, 17 years after he refereed his first Test.
“I will be very proud to achieve that milestone this weekend,”revealed Owens to Gavin Mairs.
“I never thought I would keep going to get 100 Tests. From what I am told, I am still refereeing at the top of my game. It is not a case of hanging around for an extra game and overstaying your welcome. I am still enjoying it and still performing, so there is a sense of that as well.”
Nigel Owens confirms retirement date
“There is also a sense that things are coming to an end. This season will be my last at Test level, and probably professionally as well. It will be. I can understand that if I am not going to be around for the World Cup in three years’ time, they are not going to pick me now.
“I will savour the moment. You have to enjoy every day as if it is the last because one day you will be right. I am going to enjoy this game because one day it is going to be my last, and this could be it. I would be disappointed if it was.”
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One Englishman features In Nigel Owens’ Dream XV Of Players He’s Refereed
15. Israel Folau (Australia) – This pick didn’t age well.
I go for Folau – only just, I should stress – because of his ability to seemingly beat his man every time he gets the ball in his hand. He’s such an exciting player and like Leigh Halfpenny he is one of the best under the high ball.
14. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting as he burst into that line and, of course, was named Six Nations player of the tournament.
13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader.
12. Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)
He’s another brilliant player and after every game, win or lose, he would come up and give me a hug. Ma’a has always found time at after-match functions or at breakfast if we’ve been staying at the same hotel to come over and have a chat.
11. Shane Williams (Wales)
He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps. Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Folau, I can tell you that.