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Two Irish Feature In Nigel Owens' Dream XV Of Players He's Refereed

Two Irish Feature In Nigel Owens' Dream XV Of Players He's Refereed
By Conor O'Leary

Nigel Owens will break the world record for most international tests refereed this June with a Pacific Nations Cup clash. World Rugby are rightly celebrating their best official, getting him to reveal his favourite moment as a referee. Now though, they've asked the Welshman to select his dream XV of players he's refereed - and what a team it is.

Two Irish players make the cut - and it's perhaps no surprise which ones they are - two captains Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell.

It's actually interesting to note that the majority of the players that Owens picked are captains. The entire pack have captained their countries, as well as O'Driscoll and Agustin Pichot in the backs. Although there are some notable leaders that weren't included - including South Africans Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield, and New Zealand centre Conrad Smith.

Owens plucks for three Welsh players - Alun Wyn Jones, Shane Williams, and Gethin Jenkins - while he mentions Lee Byrne, Dwayne Peel, and Leigh Halfpenny too.

Some of Owens' kindest words are reserved for the Irish pair. For O'Driscoll, Owens writes:

Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader. He always respected referees and set the right example for others to follow.

A legend of the game who conducted himself superbly, on and off the pitch.

High praise indeed. Not to be out done, O'Connell's tribute is almost as complimentary:

Quite simply he was just an exceptional leader. I have been in charge of games where he pretty much carried his team, whether it was Munster or Ireland, almost on his back and onto victory.

Nigel Owens Dream XV:

15. Israel Folau (Australia)
14. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
13. Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)
12. Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand)
11. Shane Williams (Wales)
10. Dan Carter (New Zealand)
9. Agustin Pichot (Argentina)
1. Gethin Jenkins (Wales)
2. John Smit (South Africa)
3. Phil Vickery (England)
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
5. Paul O'Connell (Ireland)
6. Theirry Dusautoir (France)
7. Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
8. Sergio Parisse (Italy)

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[Wales Online]

See Also: Watch: Nigel Owens' Favourite Moment As A Referee Isn't One Of His Famous Quips

Picture credit: Roberto Bregani / SPORTSFILE

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