Nigel Owens: His best clapback quotes
England asked a favour of referee Nigel Owens ahead of their Six Nations clash against France and while he’s not officially responded, the Welsh official is well-known for his put-downs.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
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While reffing a match featuring Harlequins, Owens didn’t like a dodgy throw in, he quipped: “I’m straighter than that one”.
Owens is openly gay and is one of the few people in the rugby world who doesn’t skirt around speaking up.
During a match between Harlequins and Wasps when players got a bit tetchy, the ref politely suggested: “If you want to cuddle, do it after the match”.
This one comes from another meeting between France and England, this time in Paris. A foot race between Mike Brown and Yoann Huget resulted in the latter throwing the ball away in a strop and a little altercation. Watching on, Owens called both players over, asking if they were quite done and then saying: “You’re both acting very immature”.
Another one from a fixture between these two rivals. England skipper Chris Robshaw asked Nigel Owens about a French player who was bundling about the base of a ruck.
Owens responds by informing him there was nothing wrong with the play. Robshaw tries to respond and managed to get out “he was…” before Owens replied with the perfect amount of sass: “uhh… Christopher”. Robshaw sheepishly responded: “sorry, sir”.
Reffing can be a thankless task, but knowing how to control things is key. Few do it better than Owens. During a match between Munster and Treviso, play was stopped because of a Treviso infringement. First, Owens gives players a good telling off, then reminds them who is in charge.
Owens to Treviso’s Tobias Botes: “I don’t think we’ve met before, but I’m the referee on this field, not you. Stick to your job and I will do mine.”
He then added:
“If I hear you shouting for anything again, I’m going to penalise you. This is not soccer, is that clear?”
The quip about soccer is an old favourite of the Welsh ref. He often tells players who get a bit too theatrical: “The football stadium is that way”.
Owens is also quick to remind players about respect and during the 2015 World Cup final, he told Dan Carter: “Don’t swear, now, you’re on telly, mun.”
And last, but not least, once, in response to a captain indicating he wishes to attempt a kicked penalty by saying his side will “take the three”, Owens simply said: “I can’t give you the three points but I’ll give you a go at them.”