07 Feb 2018
When Nigel Owens refereed the Six Nations match between France and Ireland last Saturday, he broke two records.
By Paul Dobson, Moonsport
The first record he broke was his own. It was his 80th Test match. Nobody else has done that. When first he broke the record it belonged to Jonathan Kaplan with 70 Tests.
The second he broke was in the Six Nations. Till last Saturday he shared the record on 17 with Kaplan and Wayne Barnes. Now he is on 18 with the Calcutta Cup match to come on 24 February. But at the end of the season, Barnes, who is eight years younger than Owens, will have drawn level with him on 19 matches after refereeing France vs Italy and Ireland vs Scotland.
Kaplan, whose record was broken, enjoyed the Six Nations with its history and traditions more than any other competition. He said of Owens:
"He deserves the record. If I think of the best 10 matches refereed in the last 20 years, Nigel has refereed four of them. He's a referee who gets the pace of the game right."
Owens said of his record: "They're just numbers at the end of the day but when you get to those milestones it's always nice to reflect really on how long you have been part of this wonderful tournament. It's my 11th or 12th season in the Six Nations - I've been around a while now."