Nigel Owens opens up about his biggest on-field f*** up - Ruck

Nigel Owens opens up about his biggest on-field f*** up

Legendary referee Nigel Owens has revealed his worst mistake during his entire rugby refereeing career, and what he did to put it right.

“The biggest error I made was more than a decade ago and I still remember it well,” revealed the popular Welshman.

“A few days earlier I had refereed my first European knock-out match, between Wasps and Leinster. It had gone well for me but I made the cardinal sin of feeling overly pleased with myself.

“Unfortunately, I was still in that frame of mind when I took charge of an encounter a few days later between my old school Maes Yr Yrfa and Ysgol Gwyr. I think it was an under-18s match and I simply wasn’t tuned in properly.

“The players were chipping away throughout the game, complaining among themselves about my decisions and within earshot of me. I penalised one of them a couple of times before he turned to me and said with more than a bit of feeling: “If you have no interest in reffing this game why are you doing it?”

“He’d already had one yellow card and I gave him a second one. It was the wrong decision.

“I reflected on it later and concluded that I’d sent off a player for pretty much telling me the truth.

“I probably still regret that more than anything else I’ve done as a referee. But I pledged to learn from the experience and never, ever to go into a game in such a wobbly frame of mind again.

“So the week after I had the whistle for the 2015 World Cup final, I took charge of a Welsh National League Division One match between Gowerton and Crymych and I made absolutely sure I gave it my best. I thought to myself: ‘You have to ref it as if it is a World Cup final’.”


RANKED: The 5 WORST refereeing decisions in rugby history

In world rugby, the referees have one of the toughest jobs. Every one of their decisions could have a major impact on the outcome of the game, and possibly the season.

Every referee has to make difficult decisions and will get criticized at some point in time by players, coaches and most often, the fans.

The best referees around are those who can live with criticism and can make the correct decision most of the time.

However, there have been a number of blatant blunders by officials in the past. Here are five of the worst errors.

Worst refereeing decisions in rugby:

1. Speargate on the Lions Tour

The first game of the Lions tour of New Zealand was swept into controversy following a horrific spear tackle on Captain Brian O’Driscoll, which ended his tour within minutes. The tackle, with O’Driscoll picked up by two players in the ruck, was against the rules, but the ref waved play on.

The moment caused a major knock-on effect in World Rugby, tightening up restrictions on spear tackling.