Nigel Owens singles out Peter Clohessy as funniest player he has refereed
Nigel Owens is widely regarded as one of the best referees in World Rugby having refereed a World Cup final and Champions Cup final.
Not only is his ability to control 30 professional players intent on running over each other, he is arguably one of the wittiest characters across sport in general.
The addition of ref cam and ref mic to rugby officials also means that Owens comments are never missed.
You can see a montage of the Welshman’s best moments below:
Recently, former Lion and Leinster legend, Luke Fitzgerald, voiced his disapproval at Owens wit, arguing that it was disrespectful to players. However, Owens was backed by all corners of the media. Indeed Fitzgerald’s gripe seemed a bit over the top.
Owens responded that his humour is never in opposition to the players and are never meant to cause disrespect to any player.
The game is about the players not the ref. I didn't say a witty thing or a put down. I just explained why advantage was over. Nothing more https://t.co/NtwxjIXNyz
— Nigel Owens MBE (@Nigelrefowens) April 10, 2017
Owens then took part in an online questionnaire to which he was asked did he prepare his epic one liners prior to games. With the incident with Fitzgerald still fresh, Owens responded,
“I honestly have never prepared any one-liners or quotes to say in a game. All I do is referee the game which is what I’m there to do, and just say it as it is. My job is to referee the game and nothing else. I have the utmost respect for every player on that field and do not say things to belittle them or to have a laugh at their expense. On the weekend one ex-player suggested that I shouldn’t be saying witty comments. Explaining to the captain why advantage was over was what my job is as a referee. I did not see anything witty or disrespectful in what I said. I am a human being and I am just being myself.”
Owens was then questioned about who was the funniest player he had refereed in his illustrious career. His response was Munster legend Peter Clohessy.
“I refereed Peter Clohessy during his last season. He was a character. The first six scums collapsed in the game, both packs of forwards were blaming each other and having their say, so I blew the whistle and said: “Hang on now boys, there are about 16 referees on this field at the moment.” And Clohessy said: “Yes, and you’re not one of them!” Everyone laughed, as did I, and that is why humour must never be lost in our game.”
Quotes courtesy of Wales Online.
All we can say is that the game would be a duller place without characters like Owens and in a era when everything seems so sanitised, the Welshman is a breath of fresh air.