Legendary referee Nigel Owens has brought an end to his international career after making his 100th appearance at Test match level in November.
The Welshman has spent 17 years at the top level of the game and refereed the 2015 World Cup final at Twickenham, but announced his decision on Twitter today, 11 December.
The initial news was broken with via Amazon with a five-minute interview with Scott Quinnell at his farm in Wales and now the rugby world has gone crazy for appreciation of the Welsh icon.
🚨 Referee @Nigelrefowens has announced his international retirement 🚨
A legend of the game 👏🏉 pic.twitter.com/nhY3mAtp6r
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) December 11, 2020
As well as being the only referee in history to officiate 100 Test matches, Owens will be remembered for his hilarious interactions with players on the field and his leadership role within the LGBT community.
International accounts and top players have jumped to praise Owens via social media as a true legend of the game looks towards his new life on the farm.
With a heavy heart, the time has come to hang up the whistle and boots at international level. I owe more to rugby than rugby will ever owe to me. Thank you for all the support over the many years. 🏉🏴☺️Diolch o galon a hwyl fawr. https://t.co/230HqhLswL
— Nigel Owens MBE (@Nigelrefowens) December 11, 2020
🏉 Legendary referee Nigel Owens has announced his retirement from Test rugby.
🏴 The Welshman recently joined #RugbyTonight to recall some of the stars he had the pleasure of sharing a pitch with during his 100 Tests.pic.twitter.com/KUJn92Ns7Z
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 11, 2020
Farewell to @Nigelrefowens as a referee. What an extraordinary career on the field and as good a man off it.
The very best of luck with whatever you do next Nigel.
— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) December 11, 2020
A 17-year International career comes to an end. #Legend #NigelOwens pic.twitter.com/qGkwskIsqh
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 11, 2020
Nigel Owens has retired from Test rugby refereeing.
Finishes on 100 Test matches.
"I'm not going to be around for 2023, I don’t want to be. I still hope to referee in the PRO14 and locally in Wales this season and maybe next as well." pic.twitter.com/OnbEKe0pPh
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) December 11, 2020
💯 100 test matches
🏟 4 Rugby World Cups
🎤 Countless memorable one-liners@Nigelrefowens has called time on his 17-year international career. pic.twitter.com/6USFQHDJnk
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) December 11, 2020
Don't think I've ever heard of a referee, in any sport, that is as universally loved as Nigel Owens.
Absolute legend #ThisIsNotSoccer https://t.co/ctUdLZSPzz
— Jamie Concannon (@jamie_concannon) December 11, 2020
Breaking: 100 and out for Nigel Owens who has confirmed his retirement from Test rugby with immediate effect: "Nobody has a divine right to go on forever. There comes a time where it’s time to move on and to go out on 100 is a good time to go."
— Alex Bywater (@_AlexBywater) December 11, 2020
Great innings mate. Proud to have worked with you and shared in some of your many career highs. The international game will miss you and I'm not sure we will ever see another referee, in whatever sport, as popular as you again. Gan eich ffrind balch. https://t.co/wNo7sLzeYO
— Wayne Barnes (@WayneBarnesRef) December 12, 2020