Rugby World Cup
Nigel Owens confirmed as Rugby World Cup final referee
ESPN Staff
October 26, 2015
Will All Blacks or Wallabies win rugby's biggest prize?

Nigel Owens has been confirmed as the referee for this weekend's World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand at Twickenham, the fourth British and Irish official to take charge of the showpiece event.

The 44-year-old follows in the footsteps of fellow Welshman Derek Bevan, who refereed the last World Cup final at Twickenham between England and Australia in 1991.

England's Ed Morrison was appointed to the 1995 final between South Africa and New Zealand, while Irishman Alain Rolland officiating the England versus South Africa 2007 final.

New Zealand selector Grant Fox suggested last week that the All Blacks knew Owens would be in charge for the final, speculation that only intensified when he was left off the officiating roster for the semifinals.

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Former All Blacks fly-half Fox told New Zealand radio station Newstalk ZB: "Nigel is clearly the best referee in the world -- he's demonstrated that.

"One of the key things he does, apart from communicating incredibly well with players, is that he lets the breakdown breathe, and that is really important.

"If you want to get a good contest and spectacle, you have got to let the breakdown breathe a little bit, and he is really, really good at that."

Owens is widely regarded as the best referee in the game, in part for his communication skills and witty one-liners.

Spotting a dive from Stuart Hogg during the Pool B game between Scotland and South Africa at St James' Park, home to Newcastle United, Owens allowed play to continue before informing the fullback: "There was nothing wrong with [the tackle]. If you want to dive like that again, come back here in two weeks and play, not today."

© ESPN Staff

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