Nigel Owens reveals the ‘greatest’ game he refereed

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In his column, Owens ranked the top five stadiums he has refereed at, with Ellis Park coming out on top.


Owens only refereed there once, but he said that game, between the All Blacks and South Africa in 2013, was 'the scene of the greatest game I ever refereed…many say it's the greatest game they've ever seen too.'


"The atmosphere that day was just something to behold.


"The game itself was just unbelievable and played at such a pace, without a doubt the best I ever refereed.


"The All Blacks won 38-27, there were nine tries, and some of them were stunning. The crowd really got into the game, as they always do in South Africa, and it made for a truly special memory.


"The ground itself is not in a great place, but there is so much history there with the 1995 World Cup final being played there.


"They did the same in 2013 as they did in 1995 as well, when they flew this massive jumbo jet over the stadium. I was out on the field warming up, and it was so low you thought it was going to clip the top of the stand.


"I remember thinking to myself, 'Wow, what an occasion this is'. The supporters were incredible and it is just one of the great rugby venues anywhere in the world," he said.



Owens said he had refereed 14 times in New Zealand and enjoyed it every time.


"But the atmosphere wasn't always as special as other places because, as far as the fans were concerned, the result was a foregone conclusion because the All Blacks were that good.


"You also don't get as much away support in the southern hemisphere because of the travelling involved, we're very lucky in that sense in Europe," he said.


After naming Stade de France in Paris at No5 on his list, he said Thomond Park, Limerick, was fourth, Croke Park in Dublin was third, Twickenham was second, while New Zealand did get an honorary look-in when he named Ellis Park in Johannesburg No1 for the classic 2013 Test.


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