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Nigel Owens Had High Praise For The First Person To Thank Him After The World Cup Final

Nigel Owens Had High Praise For The First Person To Thank Him After The World Cup Final
By PJ Browne Updated

When Nigel Owens blew for full time in Saturday's World Cup final, signifying New Zealand's retention of the Webb Ellis trophy, he did not expect the first person to congratulate him to be a Wallaby.

Undoubtedly bitterly disappointed with the loss, Australia number eight David Pocock approached the referee to give him, as Owens calls it, a 'cwtch'.

In an interview with Wales Online, the 44-year-old spoke of Pocock's 'integrity'.

At the final whistle the first person to come up on Saturday didn’t even shake my hand. As we say in Wales he gave me a ‘cwtch’[a cuddle or hug] .

He put his hand around me and said thanks for a great game. That was David Pocock.

For someone who has just missed out on winning the Webb Ellis trophy to come up to do that says a lot about the integrity of man himself and what a wonderful sport rugby is.

Owens also detailed one of his biggest regrets from his time as a rugby referee. After officiating a Heineken Cup quarter-final some years ago, he had to do a Welsh schools game the following week.

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At the time, he felt that he was above such drops in standard. Owens - who will referee a Welsh league game this weekend - has since learned to embrace working in the lower echelons of the game.

I learned a lot a long time ago from a previous experience.

I went from refereeing a Heineken Cup match and did a local schools game the week afterwards.

I thought I was too good for the game. I had just reffed a Heineken Cup quarter-final game and I went to ref this game thinking it was below me.

I was awful. I sent somebody off because he told me I was awful. That is the biggest regret I had because I sent a player off because I was awful.

Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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