Saturday saw a significant milestone achieved as Welsh referee Nigel Owens officiated his one hundredth test match.
Owens’ remarkable career began in 1987 after a teacher of his suggested he take up refereeing. His first game in charge was an U15 school match when Owens himself was just 16.
Over the past 33 years, Owens has grown to be one of the most loved characters of the game. It has not all been plain sailing for the 49 year old who has battled depression and even bulimia during his career.
In 2007, Owens revealed publicly that he is gay, saying that coming out was a difficult decision and that grappling with his sexuality had led him to contemplate suicide when he was 26. The rugby community was largely supportive of Owens who is regarded as the best referee in the world at present.
Owens’ hundredth game took the form of France vs Italy in Paris, France running out 36-5 winners.
Over his career, Owens has officiated in 9 Challenge Cup games, 98 in the Heineken Cup, a massive 149 in the Pro 14 and even a World Cup final in 2015 between New Zealand and Australia. He remains a celebrated and cherished figure in sport.