Home International Rugby Nigel Owens names his Dream team

Nigel Owens names his Dream team

by Saba Gulmagarashvili

Nigel Owens retired in December 2020 after a 17-year career. He currently holds the world record for the most test matches refereed and is one of five international referees listed as professional within the Welsh Rugby Union, alongside Craig Evans, Adam Jones, Dan Jones, and Ben Whitehouse.
Here is his dream team

BACK-THREE:

Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Bryan Habana (South Africa)
Shane Williams (Wales)

Hogg: 

“How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting.”

Williams: 

“He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps.”

Habana: 

“Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Habana, I can tell you that.”

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Shane Williams -'Too Small for Rugby' | Career Tribute ᴴᴰ - YouTube

CENTRES:

Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

O’Driscoll: 

“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.”

Nonu: 

“He’s another brilliant player and after every game, win or lose, he would come up and give me a hug. Ma’a has always found time at after-match functions or at breakfast if we’ve been staying at the same hotel to come over and have a chat.”

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HALFBACKS:

Dan Carter (New Zealand)
Agustin Pichot (Argentina)

Carter: 

“There are lots of outside-halves who have been great, but not one who has done it over so many years like Carter.”

Pichot: 

“Pichot and Felipe Contepomi were the ones who helped transform Argentina into one of the greatest sides in the world. He was an architect behind their march to the World Cup semi-finals in 2007, which set the trend ahead of their excellent showing in the 2015 tournament, too.”

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FRONT-ROW:

Gethin Jenkins (Wales)
John Smit (South Africa)
Phil Vickery (England)

Jenkins: 

“He rarely smiles but has been a terrific player at loose-head prop. When I’ve penalised him and he’s smiled, I know I’d got the decision right!”

Smit: 

“He led the Springboks to success at the 2007 World Cup in France and against the 2009 Lions and is probably one of the greatest captains I have dealt with.”

Vickery:

 “I always had a lot of time for him, found him a decent man, a good player to referee. He wasn’t one of those who would whinge at decisions, he would accept the call and get on with it.”

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THE BIG INTERVIEW: England's 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Phil Vickery reflects on the glory | Lancashire Evening Post

SECOND-ROW:

Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
Paul O’Connell (Ireland)

Jones: 

“A man of few words, he does his talking on the field with his actions. Not only is he a brilliant player and a very good captain but I don’t think I have reffed a match where he hasn’t given absolutely everything.”

O’Connell: 

“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.”

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BACK-ROW:

Thierry Dusautoir (France)
Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
Sergio Parisse (Italy)

Dusautoir:

“He was right up there as one of the best captains I have refereed and we greatly respected one another.”

McCaw: 

“If anybody had to pick the greatest player in history, it would surely be a difficult choice between him and Gareth Edwards.”

Parisse:

I’ve been fortunate to have refereed some tremendous No.8s during my career but Sergio is tops. He’s such a talented player and rarely has a bad game.”

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Sergio Parisse could still play in Six Nations despite missing out on Italy squad for opening matches | Sport | The Times

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