Nigel Owens says a match between the All Blacks and Springboks is the toughest job for a rugby referee.
The Welshman, who is regarded as the world’s best referee, will be in charge of this year’s Rugby Championship match between the arch-rivals in Wellington.
‘I remember Derek Bevan, one of Wales’ greatest referees, once telling me that New Zealand against South Africa is the toughest game you will take charge of – and he wasn’t wrong,’ wrote Owens in a column for WalesOnline. ‘It is a clash of two Goliaths, two huge rugby countries and rugby cultures.’
Owens was in charge when the All Blacks thrashed the Boks 57-0 in Albany last year, but his most memorable fixture involving the nations was at Ellis Park in 2013. The All Blacks won 38-27 in one of the best Tests ever to clinch the Rugby Championship title.
‘It’s a match that has been talked of as one of the greatest games of rugby played, with many pundits, coaches and players past and present even calling it the game of the century. To have played a part in that, a small part, is something I will always cherish and never forget,’ wrote Owens.
‘I remember standing there for the anthems at Ellis Park, it was spine-tingling. You then turned for the haka, New Zealand’s war dance, you could feel the atmosphere among the crowd, you could sense this was going to be something special.’
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