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Nigel Owens reveals all in much anticipated autobiography: The Final Whistle

Nigel Owens: The Final Whistle is the long-awaited autobiography of one rugby’s favourite characters. The story of Nigel’s career is one of triumph over adversity, hope over despair. He reached the pinnacle of the refereeing world when given the 2015 World Cup Final, and then went on to win a world-record 100 Caps.

Having officially hung up his whistle and retired from on-field duties he is free to reveal all about his career and to speak his mind on various issues and to give the full story of his fantastic career and inspirational story, coming out as gay in the macho world of rugby union.

Nigel Owens talks openly about his tormented teenage years and revisits his attempted suicide in his 20s, and how he overcame his difficulties to become a favourite in the rugby world.

A letter simply addressed, ‘Nigel Owens, referee, Welsh Rugby Union,’ tells the poignant tale of one mother’s heartfelt thanks to Nigel for saving her son’s life.

Tormented by the fact that he was gay, and unable to open up to his parents, the young boy tried to take his own life when 16 years old. Nigel’s own story, and his willingness to share his memories of darker days, broke down barriers for the family and made him able to move on with his life. Nigel became the role model for others that he couldn’t see in the sporting world and so desperately needed in the earlier days.

Dan Carter, a true superstar of international rugby, sums up Owens perfectly in the book’s foreword: “THERE IS, AND will only ever be, one Nigel Owens. He is a truly unique sporting figure, a rugby referee who charmed the players, was loved by supporters right throughout the world and whose off-the-field story provides inspiration to so many.”

Following his appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, present Kirsty Young said: “Wow, that’s special Nigel. We’ve done a few of these over the years and this one is going to help so many people out there. You’ll be amazed at the response you get from this.”

The 100-Test referee, the sport’s first openly gay personality, opens up on threatening and homophobic phone calls he received as well as death threats, with particular incidents surrounding the release of his first Welsh language book and following an international test between Samoa and South Africa.

Considered one of the best referees in world rugby, Nigel Owens talks candidly about the 2005 game that could have brought his career to a premature end and how he overcame adversity to referee the 2015 Rugby World Cup final and became the record-holder for refereeing the most Six Nations matches.

Nigel Owens’ Test career began in Lisbon in 2003 as he took charge of a Six Nations B fixture between Portugal and Georgia. He went on to become the game’s most successful referee, reaching the 100-Test milestone taking charge of the 2015 World Cup Final. Paul Abbandonato (ghost writer) is Head of Sport at Media Wales and the Western Mail.

 

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