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Nigel Owens bows out of refereeing international rugby after 17 year career

Nigel Owens has called it a day and brought his international career to an end, after 17 years. H...

Nigel Owens has called it a day and brought his international career to an end, after 17 years.

He retires the most-capped referee in world rugby.

Announcing the news on Twitter on Friday afternoon, the Welshman said he was doing so with a heavy heart and pointed out how much he owed the sport.

Owens refereed the 2015 Rugby World Cup final and last month's Autumn Nations Cup game between France and Italy was his 100th, and final, Test match.

His full statement on Friday afternoon read,

“Nobody has a divine right to go on forever. There comes a time where it’s time to move on so international refereeing will come to end now, that France vs Italy game was my last Test match. To go out on 100 is a good time to go.

“I’m not going to be around for 2023, I don’t want to be. I still hope to referee in the Pro 14 and locally in Wales this season and maybe next as well. I will certainly continue to referee in the community game because when you are very fortunate to get so much out of something, I think it’s hugely important that you give something back to it as well.

“I’ll also be going into a coaching role with the WRU, helping some of our talented, young referees we have here in Wales so that is something I’m quite excited about. We currently have five referees including myself refereeing at Pro 14 level so it will be exciting to help them make further progress as well as our other upcoming male and female referees.”

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