WELSHMAN Nigel Owens has been appointed to referee next Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham.
Owens, 44, will emulate fellow Welsh referee Derek Bevan, who controlled the 1991 final - also at Twickenham - when Australia beat England.
It will be Owens’ 68th Test match in the middle, while Frenchman Jerome Garces and England’s Wayne Barnes have been confirmed by World Rugby as assistant referees for the final.
There is no involvement for South African Craig Joubert, whose controversial late decision during the Scotland versus Australia quarter-final - he incorrectly awarded a penalty to the Wallabies that Bernard Foley kicked and secured a 35-34 win - led to World Rugby publicly stating that he had made an error.
Owens said: “This is a huge honour and a privilege for me. I am humbled to have been chosen to referee the Rugby World Cup final.
“This is my third World Cup, and I think it has been the best. It has been inspirational.
“The quality of rugby on display has been incredible in front of packed venues, and so to be given the opportunity to referee the final match between the best two teams in the tournament is an amazing honour.
“I would like to thank World Rugby and the Welsh Rugby Union for their support over many years.
“There have been so many individual people throughout my career who have helped and supported me along the way, and while I can’t name everyone here, I will be thanking everyone personally in due course.
“I want to thank my friends and family for their ongoing support and for helping me through some rough times in my life.
“My dad, in particular, is always there for me and is delighted with this news - it’s just a shame my mother is not here to see this as she was a pillar of strength for me. She passed away six years ago, and I know she would have been very proud.”
World Rugby, meanwhile, announced that next Friday’s bronze medal match between South Africa and Argentina at the Olympic Stadium will be refereed by Ireland’s John Lacey, with New Zealanders Glen Jackson and Chris Pollock as his assistants.