Top ref Nigel woos guests at Neyland Athletic Club

‚ÄčNigel Owens and Charlie Watts on stage
Knowledgeable. Charming. Outrageous. Hilarious!
Nigel OwensWorld-famous rugby referee Nigel Owens showed all four facets of his character as he was the main speaker at a ‘Sporting Evening’ organised at Neyland Athletic Club enjoyed by almost 100 guests.
Organised by Jason Morgan and Johnny Sutton, the event followed closely on the heels of their initial venture, when New Zealand rugby star Zinzan Brook was joined by Welsh scrum half Rupert Moon, and those lucky enough to have attended both generally agreed that it certainly lived up to expectations as Owens dealt with subjects as diverse as his upbringing in Pontyberem and his family, his development through to the top as a rugby official, his views on his favourite and least favourite players, as well as a host of other topics covered in his inimitable style.
After another splendid buffet provided by former Neyland rugby player Scott Gregory, who supplies equally good grub at Caddies Café in Freystrop, Owens spoke for almost 50 minutes and had everyone hooting with laughter, not least on some subjects that might not satisfy the PC world but clearly touching a chord with the ladies and gentleman in attendance.
He spoke of his most memorable matches around the world, including the 2015 World Cup Final between Australia and New Zealand, which he had the honour of reffing, and other testing game in places as far afield as Argentina and the USA.
He also managed to sneak in a few teasers like the time he visited South Africa and felt he had to visit Rourke’s Drift because he told everyone that his great-great-great-great grandfather had been one of the Welsh soldiers who fought there in the Boer War and actually sang the song made famous in the film ‘Zulu’ – with the saga painted so well by Owens before a hilarious climax!
There was also sadness as he spoke about the time when his mother passed away, but not before she made him promise to continue refereeing before and after her death.
There was also the chance to buy some terrific memorabilia from Matthew Jones and his helpers from the ‘Events Room’ and the evening concluded with Nigel Owens taking part in a question and answer session on stage with local referee Charlie Watts doing the introductions and Jason Morgan taking the mike around the room for a range of questions that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous!
“It was a brilliant evening,” said Mike Griffiths, the former Bridgend and Llanelli scrum half who played against the All Blacks for The Scarlets, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

It was a view agreed with by Neyland RFC chairman Rod Chamberlain, who added, “Jason Morgan and Johnny Sutton have worked immensely hard and deserve huge credit for their recent efforts – so roll on the next one!”
Nigel Owens told us,
“I have never reffed in Neyland or come across them in away games - and it my first visit to the town.  I have had a wonderful welcome and couldn’t wish for a better evening or a more receptive audience.”
Finally, it was interesting to hear who he thought were the best players he had come across and listed Richie McCaw as the best forward and Welsh wing master Shane Williams as the best backs player.
As to the players he had least time for – both were English but to find out their names – you should have been at the evening!

The audience enjoying themselves at the Neyland Athletic Club

‚ÄčNigel Owens and Charlie Watts on stage
Nigel Owens
The audience enjoying themselves at the Neyland Athletic Club