Nigel Owens

Nigel Owens

Nigel Owens is a Welsh International and Heineken Cup rugby union referee, widely acknowledged as the best referee in rugby union. His decision-making, approach to dealing with players, knowledge and interpretation of the rules is acclaimed by players, coaches and commentators. He is also the sport’s only openly-gay official.

First officiating on the international stage in a game between Ireland and Japan, Nigel oversaw his first World Cup match two years later in France at the Argentina vs. Georgia match and the England versus France match. Nigel 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.

After struggling for a number of years with conflicts between his sexuality, his working class roots and working in the rugby industry he decided to make his personal life public, and with the exception of a few comments he was generally widely accepted both within and outside the world of Rugby. Nigel tells of his struggle and his journey in his best selling biography ‘Half Time’.

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 2007, Owens was named 'Gay Sports Personality of the Year' by gay rights group Stonewall at their annual awards ceremony in London.

Nigel has officiated at more than 150 ruby internationals, including 3 World Cup tournaments, including the greatest accolade for a referee, when he was awarded the honour of taking charge at the 2015 World Cup Final. His ability to maintain order through a combination of strict discipline and a great sense of humour have made him one of the sport’s most recognisable personalities.

Nigel speaks about his personal story, as well as the traits needed to command on the pitch, how to take tough decisions and deal with tough characters.

As well as being one of the funniest Rugby Speakers in the country, Nigel is also as fantastic Host, and LGBT Speaker. He is the ideal choice for After Dinner Speaking, Rugby Club Dinners, Sporting Clubs and Conferences. Please contact a Prime Performers Booking Agent on 020 7251 8222 to discuss your requirements.

  • Would you pass on our thanks to Nigel for being such a wonderful guest and great speaker. When he stops refereeing he needs to take up a career as a singer! He was brilliant fun and everyone really enjoyed his talk and presence.

    Bird & Bird

  • Nigel an absolute hit. Best lunch we have ever had!

    Farnham Rugby Club

  • Nigel was fantastic, very prompt and engaging with the client and their employees. His talk was superb and really hit the nail on the head. His humility, honesty and integrity won the whole room over immediately and the balance he struck when dealing with emotionally complex and deep subjects with compassion and experience was truly superb. The client was absolutely thrilled with Nigel’s talk, the Q&A at the end and the fact that he engaged wholeheartedly with the client afterwards.

    Leadership Conference