Owens overlooked for final after 'pressure' from French
May 4, 2014
Nigel Owens in action at the 2011 World Cup © Getty Images
Nigel Owens appears to have paid the price for awarding Saracens a controversial penalty try during their Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Clermont by being overlooked for the final on May 24.
The Sunday Times reports that Owens, who had been favourite to take charge of the clash between Saracens and Toulon at the Millennium Stadium, has been rejected in favour of Alain Rolland after pressure on the refereeing selection panel from French representatives.
The French lobby was angered by the penalty try awarded by Owens at Twickenham, which came when Clermont fly-half Brock James batted the ball out of play behind his own tryline. Owens also sent James to the sin-bin, although it was unclear whether Saracens would definitely have scored but for the infringement, thereby justifying a penalty try.
Rolland, who retires at the end of the season, has the advantage of being bilingual. However he has attracted criticism for being too strict when officiating the attacking team. He took charge of the 2004 final between London Wasps and Toulouse, as well as last season's decider between Toulon and Clermont Auvergne.
Welshman Owens will appear as an assistant referee for the final, along with George Clancy of Ireland.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray for the third time in an Australian Open final as the world No.1 clinched his fifth Melbourne Park crown with a 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 6-0 win
Nico Rosberg and Mercedes hit the ground running in pre-season testing as they led the field in time and mileage on the morning of the opening F1 test of 2015 in Jerez
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge reserved praise for team-mate Raheem Sterling after making a goal-scoring return from injury against West Ham United on Saturday
England will train with loudspeakers pumped up at their Pennyhill Park base this week as they prepare to face the wall of noise inside the Millennium Stadium against Wales next Friday.
Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko is a target for Turkish club Fenerbahce