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Nigel Owens MBE

Highly respected International rugby referee, Nigel Owens, is in huge demand as an entertaining after dinner speaker and truly inspirational motivational speaker both within the world of sport and business.

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Motivational and witty after dinner speaker, Nigel Owens, is a former acclaimed Welsh international rugby union referee.

He was appointed as an international referee in 2005.  The same year he officiated his first international between Ireland and Japan in Osaka. He is only one of two referees ever to be appointed to referee two consecutive Heineken Cup finals.  These were Munster v Toulouse at the Millennium Stadium in 2008 and Leicester Tigers v Leinster at Murrayfield in 2009.

Nigel has appeared on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. He is also known as one of the presenters on Jonathan, a rugby-themed Welsh language chat show hosted by former Welsh international Jonathan Davies.  The show is broadcast on S4C on the eve of big international matches. He also co-presents the sports-themed Welsh language chat show Bwrw’r Bar.

He published his autobiography in Welsh called “Hanner Amser” which means Half Time. The English language version followed.  Nigel has subsequently been made a member of the Gorsedd of Bards.

This Is Not Soccer

In January 2012 Nigel made the headlines by addressing Treviso scrum-half Tobias Botes.  He reprimanded Tobias for continually yelling in protest by ending with the words, “This is not soccer!” The phrase instantly became extremely popular among rugby fans. This led to T-shirts with this phrase printed being commercialized.


Nigel was honoured to be appointed referee in the RWC Final at Twickenham. He was subsequently presented with the World Rugby Referee Award.

Nigel is a patron of the LGBT Centre of Excellence Wales and The Wooden Spoon Society rugby charity.  Also patron of Bullies Out charity in Wales.

Nigel launched the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifying process. He refereed the first qualification match, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines v Jamaica in Arnos Vale. In 2016 he became the most-capped rugby referee when he took charge of the Fiji-Tonga clash in Suva. Thus overtaking Jonathan Kaplan’s record of 70 tests. In 2017 Nigel made his 150th Pro12 appearance when he took charge of the Judgement Day clash between Newport Gwent Dragons and Scarlets.

Nigel became the first rugby union referee to oversee 100 Test matches when he took charge of the Autumn Nations Cup game between France and Italy in Paris in 2020. Following the game he announced his retirement from international rugby.

After Dinner Speaker – live and online

Nigel is much in demand as both an entertaining speaker with a host of humorous and inspirational stories. He is also an effective business speaker on various themes.  These include leadership, effective communication, team-building, motivation, diversity and positive mental health.

Feedback includes:

“Wow – been to a few annual dinners by now but this year is the 1st time we’ve had a standing ovation for the after dinner speaker Nigel Owens.” Nick Speed, Director BT – CBI Annual Dinner.

Nigel Owens after dinner speaker – very funny.” Dr Helen Nicholas, British Psychology Society.

“… amazing story and an inspiration.” Carl Henderson, General Manager/VP Enterprise Holdings Wales.

“… totally engaging at CIPD Conference today.” Helen Baldwin, Group HR Director, Inspiretec Group Ltd.

“Inspirational input by Nigel Owens.” Su Coombes, British Primary Heads Conference.

“Nigel Owen’s speech at BUCS was hilarious.” Emily Dell, British Universities & Colleges Sport.

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