Nigel Owens sets his sights on Japan in 2019

Getty Images

Lynn McConnell     04 Nov 2015     Getty Images

Owens, 44, was the oldest of the 12 referees involved in the World Cup this year, and believes he will not be too old for Japan's World Cup in 2019.

"We had a meeting with the assessors and I was asked what my plans were and I said 'I'm enjoying my refereeing and as long as I keep reffing well and I'm fit enough I want to go on to 2019'," he told the BBC.

"Their response was, 'great, we're glad to hear that, we'd like you to be there in 2019'."

Owens said the Cup final, which saw New Zealand beat Australia 34-17, had been the pinnacle of his 68-Test career.

World Rugby welcomed Owens' decision to carry on and said he had shown exceptional fitness standards during the recent tournament.

Owens said the pressure, scrutiny and physical demands on referees were higher than ever but that had not diminished his passion for refereeing.

"I just thoroughly enjoy it and I'm going to keep on doing it as long as I can and as long as I'm good at it," he said.

"When the time is right and I know the body or the mind can't take it any more because of the travelling or the pressure, or when the legs can't get there to make those big decisions, then I'll know that and I will be calling it a day when that happens," he said.

Owens was mindful of criticism out of Australia after the final, especially over the forward pass which resulted in a penalty chance which Dan Carter converted.

He said he had learned to deal with criticism and his decisions in the final did not affect the final outcome.

"If you can't deal with criticism as a referee you just can't do this job," he said.

"There's something in you that helps you deal with that.

"It doesn't make it any nicer for me to hear criticism, especially if any criticism is personal. As long as you can look back on a game and say 'I did my best, I gave it my all' that's what counts," he said.

Owens will be back refereeing this weekend in a Welsh club match and two weeks after that he will control Toulon's European Champions Cup tie with Bath.