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Owens and Neville to make officiating history

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Nigel Owens is set to become the first person to take charge of 100 tests when the Welshman referees France versus Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup in November.

The Rugby World Cup 2015 final referee will take charge of two matches in the new competition to reach the milestone, 17 years after his test debut in February 2003 when he was in the middle for Portugal versus Georgia.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Joy Neville, the Rugby World Cup 2017 final referee will also make history, as the first female to perform Television Match Official duties in a major men's international competition when Wales face Georgia and Scotland take on Fiji in the same competition, having impressed in recent elite club rugby competitions.

Both Owens and Neville are past recipients of the World Rugby Referee Award, the Welshman in 2015 and the former Ireland international in 2017.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont added: “On behalf of everyone at World Rugby, I would like to say a big congratulations to Nigel Owens on selection for his 100th test. It is a remarkable achievement and testament to his passion for refereeing, his character, unwavering dedication to the highest possible performance and fitness standards and his adaptability over an impressive career that has so far spanned 17 years. It will be a massively popular milestone for the sport to celebrate.

“In addition, we would like to congratulate Joy Neville on her TMO appointments. As part of World Rugby’s transformational women’s strategy, we are committed to accelerating development of women in rugby through diversifying and normalising women in leadership positions, both on and off the field. Joy, like all the appointed referees, has earned this opportunity and we look forward to watching the referee panel back out officiating the game at the highest level.”

By World Rugby advert