World-class referee Nigel Owens was only given one game to officiate during the 2016 Six Nations
He will be in charge when France face England on the final weekend of the competition
It is an attempt by governing body World Rugby to give more exposure to those referees who are considered one notch below
Despite being widely regarded as the best in the world, referee Nigel Owens appallingly won’t be in charge of a 2016 Six Nations match until when France host England on the final weekend of the tournament next month.
It’s a decision that rugby fans from around the world were questioning in increasing numbers as the tournament kicked off last weekend.
But Owens’, who refereed the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, lack of involvement as expected is not performance related.
Instead, it is part of an attempt by governing body World Rugby to give more exposure to those referees who are considered one notch below the Welshman in the refereeing world.
It is a decision that definitely seems odd as you’d expect the top tournaments in world rugby would be officiated by the very best officials.
World Rugby Match Official Selection Committee chairman John Jeffrey said: “Now that a successful Rugby World Cup is behind us, we are conscious of introducing fresh talent into the mix as we start our preparations for RWC 2019 in Japan so Angus’ appointment and those of some of the newer assistant referees are particularly pleasing in that regard.
“We were very pleased with how our top referees and television match officials performed during Rugby World Cup 2015 and we have managed to keep almost all of them together as we begin another four-year cycle towards 2019.
“As always, our focus continues to be clear and consistent decision-making and the highest standards of physical conditioning.”