Nigel Owens is a Welsh International Rugby referee. He is an international and Heineken Cup referee and was the only Welsh referee at the 2007 IRB Rugby World Cup in France. He handled the Tri Nations game yesterday between South Africa and New Zealand at FNB Stadium (formerly Soccer City Stadium). The Springboks led the game for most of the match. The All Blacks managed to sneak in 2 tries in the last 2 minutes of the match. The first of these tries should not have been given (in my opinion). One of the passes in the phases leading up to the try by New Zealand captain Richie Macaw was forward (and not spotted by the referee). It was the first ever rugby test match to be played in Soweto in rugby history. More than 90,000 people packed the stadium. An attempt was made at the Guinness World Record for the most national flags being waved in a stadium (though I’m unsure if this was achieved) The Springboks have not won a single match in this year’s Tri Nations tournament. This is scary. Let’s hope the Springboks get back on track before the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup kicks off in New Zealand.
Yesterday’s match was a tensed up affair (which the All Blacks won by 29 points to 22) but there was a humorous moment in the match too. Referee Nigel Owens got knocked over one or two players (first by Schalk Burger and then by an All Black player). He was standing to close to the players if you ask me. It’s not the first time that a referee has been knocked over in a rugby test match in South Africa though. This brings back memories of Springbok supporter Pieter van Zyl who tackled Irish referee David Mchugh back in 2002 at a Tri Nations test match in Durban.
Here’s the clip of Nigel Owens being knocked over: