‘It’s natural’: Nigel Owens explains the simple reason he spoke Welsh in France-Italy match


Nigel Owen. Photo de Florian Christoph (CC BY 2.0).

Nigel Owens explained the simple reason he spoke Welsh in the France-Italy game.

The referee told Claire Summers on Radio Wales that the reason he shouted instructions at Italian scrum-half Stephen Varney in the tongue was that it was natural for him to do so and that he was proud of it. talk.

Born in Wales, Stephen Varney qualifies to play for Italy thanks to his Italian mother, Valeria, but comes from Rhoshill, Pembrokeshire, and played for Crymych RFC.

Varney, whose club is Gloucester Rugby, made his international debut for Italy from the bench in the fall Nations Cup against Scotland before playing against France on Saturday.

Nigel Owens yelled at Varney at ‘aros’ to make sure he didn’t drift offside during the game, then had a conversation with him about whether it was okay to get the ball into the scrum. in the “canol” – in the middle.

‘Raise the profile’

Nigel said: “I was talking to him because he was fluent in Welsh himself, he went to school in Crymych and it was natural to do so. This is what you do as a Welsh first language. You speak Welsh naturally, so it was natural for me to do so.

“I didn’t speak Welsh there and I was thinking, I’m going to make a point here so everyone knows that I can speak Welsh or spread the Welsh language.

“It’s natural to do it, and I’m very proud of my language and I speak it whenever I can, but I do it because I’m proud of it and it’s natural to do it, and that is the same for him because was his first natural language.

Owens became the first to take over 100 tests when he officiated the fall Nations Cup match between France and Italy.

The 49-year-old plans to retire at the end of this season and may have wanted to celebrate the occasion by speaking his native language.

The match ended in another loss for Italy who succumbed to a flurry of late tries, losing 36-5 at the Stade de France.


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