Nigel Owens reveals the biggest mistake of his entire career - Ruck

Nigel Owens reveals the biggest mistake of his entire career

In his latest column, Nigel Owens reveals why he regrets sending one player off and how he apologised to the Scarlets after one Welsh derby shocker.

‘We all have days we’d prefer to forget.’ wrote Owens.

‘Here’s the thing, though: There is absolutely no one out there in any walk of life who has yet to make a mistake. It’s just that for a leading referee there can be thousands of people watching pitchside and millions more watching on TV, so everything gets magnified.

‘The biggest error I made was more than a decade ago and I still remember it well.

‘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.

‘I turned up thinking I was above the match and I refereed it badly.


‘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.’