Nigel Owens MBE is a Welsh International, World Cup and Heineken Cup rugby union referee.
He was the only Welsh referee at the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups and is regarded as the first openly gay man to referee at the highest level.
Born and raised in a small village in South Wales he was appointed as an international referee in 2005, and that year officiated his first international between Ireland and Japan in Osaka.
Nigel Owens mad his World Cup debut in Lyon, France in September 2007 refereeing the Argentina vs. Georgia game.
He is only one of two referees ever to be appointed to referee two consecutive Heineken Cup finals: Munster v Toulouse at the Millennium Stadium in 2008 and Leicester Tigers v Leinster at Murrayfield in 2009.
Nigel is also one of the presenters on S4C’s ‘Jonathan‘, a rugby-themed Welsh language chat show hosted by former Welsh international Jonathan Davies.
He also co-presents the sports-themed Welsh language chat show ‘Bwrw’r Bar‘
In November 2008 he released his autobiography in Welsh called “Hanner Amser” which translated means ‘Half Time’.
In 2007, Owens was named ‘Gay Sports Personality of the Year‘ by gay rights group Stonewall at their annual awards ceremony in London.
In 2011, Nigel was made a member of the Gorsedd of Bards at their National Eisteddfod in Wrexham.
Owens was appointed as the referee for the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham.
In June 2016, Nigel was awarded an MBE for services to sport.
He continues to referee international rugby matches around world.
Nigel Owens is an extremely popular and entertaining after-dinner speaker.
As a keynote speaker, Nigel can focus on diversity. Recent feedback:
“I honestly don’t think I can put into words how incredible Nigel was. People were in tears, he owned the room and his story was so moving and authentic”