Nigel Owens fires back at online criticism after Champions Cup final

Exeter Chiefs had just enough to keep Racing 92 at bay, winning 31-27 to clinch their first Heineken Champions Cup title in a thrilling final at Ashton Gate.

The man in the middle was Welsh whistleblower Nigel Owens, who has replied to a number of fans on Twitter after coming under criticism for a tight calls.

Owens’ first call was to penalise Racing 92 on the Exeter try line for not releasing the ball, with fans insisting Sam Hidalgo-Clyne entered the ruck at the side.

His other huge decision came right at the end of the game. The match clock initially showed that three seconds remained for Racing to restart and mount a final assault.

However, after consulting with his team officials, referee Nigel Owens confirmed that the clock had not restarted when Simmonds was lining up his penalty and that he could blow up, sparking delirious celebrations.

Nigel Owens facts:

1. How he started refereeing

Playing rugby at school, his team hadn’t won a game all year, and needed to kick a conversion for victory. It was Nigel’s moment of glory. But it didn’t go to plan. The ball “went closer to the corner flag than it did to the uprights. I was a laughing stock in the school.” His coach suggested, rather forcefully, that it might make more sense for him to oversee the games rather than play in them.


2. Business

Before becoming a professional rugby union referee, Nigel worked on a dairy farm in west Wales and was also a youth worker. More recently he kicked off his own farming venture at home with a pedigree herd of Hereford cattle in Llanelli.


3. Full name

According to Wikipedia, his birth name was Nigel Farrell…

We’re not completely sure this is true.


4. Family

Scarlets and Wales U20 centre Ioan Nicholas is the cousin of the top referee.

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