Nigel Owens set for 2023 Rugby World Cup role despite rejecting coaching job - Ruck

Nigel Owens set for 2023 Rugby World Cup role despite rejecting coaching job

Popular former international referee Nigel Owens almost made stunning Rugby World Cup return as part of the coaching team for South Africa. However, he ultimately turned this opportunity down.

The 51-year-old – who refereed 100 tests before retiring in 2020 – said the offer from Rassie Erasmus for the 2023 Rugby World Cup was tempting but the timing was off.

According to Owens, the offer from Rassie Erasmus was tempting, but he explained, “The timing was off.”

While juggling responsibilities on his farm and advisory roles with the Welsh Rugby Union, the United Rugby Championship, and World Rugby, Owens expressed in his Wales Online column that family came first.

“The main reason why I had to turn down the job is because myself and my partner Barrie have some exciting news to share – we are currently in the final stages of the adoption process and will hopefully be starting our family in the coming months,” Owens revealed.

Describing their anticipation, he said, “It’s something that we’ve spoken about for a few years now and it’s taken a while to get here, but now that it’s happening we can’t wait, although I must admit it’s also a little nerve-wracking.”


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Owens emphasized that raising a child is an immense commitment, stating, “As any parent will tell you, there’s no bigger commitment than raising a child. So that was obviously the main reason why I decided against the South Africa job in the end. I couldn’t, nor would I want to, go away for the next six months with this happening.”

Although he acknowledged that the job “looked great,” Owens humbly expressed, “While it is a great privilege to have even been considered for the role, it has simply come at the wrong time in my life.”

However, RUCK can confirm that the popular Welshman is very likely to be a key part of ITV’s punditry team as they exclusively broadcast the 2023 World Cup.

ITV set to announce blockbuster World Cup team, Jonny Wilkinson and Brian O’Driscoll confirmed

The 2023 tournament in France will take place between 8 September and 21 October 2023 with IITV showing all 48 games exclusively live.

Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “The Rugby World Cup has become a prime fixture every four years on ITV, so, following such a successful tournament in 2015, we’re delighted to be able to announce we will continue to be the competition’s home until 2023.

“And our new deal kicks off with exclusive coverage of the women’s tournament in Ireland later this year, which, along with the rights to the World Rugby U20 Championship, broadens our association with elite rugby.

“Rugby World Cup 2015 was the most widely viewed rugby event ever, the live audience for Rugby World Cup 2015 increased by a factor of 48 per cent over the last edition in New Zealand, with live viewership through 106 broadcasters reaching nearly 724 million homes worldwide.”



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Sir Ian is equally adept at discussing tactical intricacies as well as the human element of the sport. With a remarkable track record, he has encountered and accomplished virtually everything in his field, earning universal admiration from his colleagues. SiMAGGIE ALPHONSI

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