Retiring Nigel Owens picks his dream XV of players he refereed

The legendary Welsh referee plans to continue officiating in the PRO14 and at community level in Wales but has called it a day on the international stage and won’t be around for the Six Nations.

Owens, who refereed his 100th test last month, is respected across rugby union as one of the world’s finest referees.

https://twitter.com/Nigelrefowens/status/1337405966392889348

Although his long spell in the international game is over, Owens says he hopes to continue refereeing in the Pro14 as well as locally in Wales this season and possibly in the 2021-22 campaign.

Here, we look at the dream XV he selected for Wales Online:

BACK-THREE:

15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14. Bryan Habana (South Africa), 11. Shane Williams (Wales)

Hogg: “How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting.”

Williams: “He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps.”

Habana: “Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Habana, I can tell you that.”


CENTRES:

13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland), 12. Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

Nonu: “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.”

O’Driscoll: “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.”

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