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Nigel Owens becomes first gay man to referee Rugby World Cup final

Nigel Owens becomes first gay man to referee Rugby World Cup final

Nigel Owens will referee the Rugby World Cup final

Rugby is one of the toughest, roughest and ‘masculine’ sports in the world, and for the World Cup final it will be officiated by a gay man for the very first time.

Welshman Nigel Owens will referee the final between New Zealand and Australia on 31 October.

Selector Grant Fox said he was chosen as he is ‘clearly the best referee in the world – he’s demonstrated that’.

We knew before this game that he had that job should we get the opportunity to play in [the final],’ Fox told Newstalk ZB.

‘Like all referees, he will make the odd error, that happens, like players make mistakes.

‘But there’s no doubt with Nigel that one of the key things he does, apart from communicating incredibly well with the players, is he lets the breakdown breathe and that’s really important.

‘Because if you want a good contest, a good spectacle, you’ve actually got to let the breakdown breathe a little bit and he’s really, really good at that.’

Owens has refereed at the Six Nations final and at numerous matches during the Rugby World Cup. He is known for his entertaining, withering reads during matches. And he’s not afraid to talk about his sexuality either.