Nigel Owens is rugby’s top referee.
In an interview with Wales Online, Nigel Owens revealed that he plans to retire after the 2019 World Cup, provided he can stay fit enough to pass the gruelling physical tests prescribed by refereeing chiefs.
Despite the fact that there is no age limit on refereeing international rugby matches, 44 year old Owens pointed out that match officials had to maintain a high level of fitness.
It is difficult because we have got high fitness standards you must meet. At the moment my test scores are pretty good but you have to train and work hard.
It’s a bit like the players in that you have to look after yourself, be sensible in what you eat and what you do, but it’s worth the extra effort because I love what I’m doing.
Nevertheless, Owens seems to be drawing influence from Derek Bevan, who refereed 44 test matches between 1984 and 2000. Not only that, but Owens believes Bevan demonstrated the fact that age is not an issue when it comes to officiating.
I look at what Derek Bevan did. He refereed a World Cup final between England and Australia at Twickenham in 1991, and was 52 eight years later when he did the semi-final between Australia and South Africa.
Owens will become rugby’s most capped referee when he takes charge of Fiji’s clash with Tonga in Suva on June, overtaking Jonathan Kaplan’s record of 70 international appearances.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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