Welshman who will become the first to referee 100 Tests on Saturday is worried by the increasing reliance on technology in rugby union – ‘it’s being used too much’

The great West Indies captain Clive Lloyd used to advise cricketers to retire when they started to feel ‘their eyes go, their knees go and their friends go’. It is different with rugby referees, for whom popularity is not a common expectation. Nigel Owens, though, remains a priceless exception to the rule: when he does depart it will feel as if his entire sport has been marched back 10 metres.

It is not just because Owens, about to take charge of his 100th Test, the first to reach such a landmark, has always been an official with a genuine empathy for the game and those who play it. As a gay man at the top of his profession, he has also helped change perceptions of rugby and belongs in the elite club of Welshmen known by their first name alone. Nigel is a national treasure, whether your first language is English or Welsh.

Related: Kyle Sinckler thanks Eddie Jones and visit from barber for return to form

Related: Nigel Owens banishes his demons after rugby accepts his sexuality

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Source: Rugby – The Guardian