(June 18, 1971 - living) U.K.
Nigel Owens, born in Mynyddcerrig, near Llanelli, Wales, is a British international rugby union referee. He is an international and Heineken Cup referee and was the only Welsh referee at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.
Owens was appointed as an international referee in 2005, and that year officiated his first international between Ireland and Japan in Osaka. Along with Wayne Barnes of England and Marius Jonker of South Africa, Owens made his World Cup debut in Lyon, France on 11 September 2007 for the Argentina vs. Georgia match.
In May 2007, he came out as a homosexual to the public in an interview with Wales on Sunday. He had previously come out to his family and boss via text-message. Although reactions have been generally positive, it was a difficult decision to make. He had even contemplated suicide.
"It's such a big taboo to be gay in my line of work, I had to think very hard about it because I didn't want to jeopardise my career. Coming out was very difficult and I tried to live with who I really was for years. I knew I was 'different' from my late teens, but I was just living a lie."
Owens lives in Pontyberem, South Wales.
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