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It's 7-up for Owens as he gets Champions Cup final nod

(Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Nigel Owens of Wales and Ireland’s Andrew Brace have been appointed to referee the 2020 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals respectively following a meeting of a selection committee chaired by EPCR’s head of match officials, Joel Jutge.

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The vastly-experienced Owens will be taking charge of his seventh Heineken Champions Cup final, and his ninth European club decider in all, when Exeter Chiefs go head-to-head with Racing 92 at Ashton Gate on Saturday week, October 17.

Owens, who will be in the middle for his 115th tournament match, will have Scotland’s Mike Adamson and Craig Evans of Wales as his assistants, while Ian Davies, also of Wales, has been appointed as TMO. 

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Owens’ appointment completes his quick return to prominence after he sat out the quarter-final stages of the tournament, a lay-off followed by him getting the semi-final featuring Racing and Saracens in Paris. 

He is set to create history next month when he becomes the first person to take charge of 100 Test matches, taking charge of France versus Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup in late November two weeks after he is set to officiate at England against Georgia. 

Meanwhile, the Challenge Cup final meeting of Bristol Bears and RC Toulon in Aix-en-Provence on Friday week, October 16, will see Brace refereeing his first European final after taking charge of last month’s Guinness PRO14 decider. Brace will be assisted by Frank Murphy and George Clancy, also of Ireland, with Brian McNeice as TMO.

Challenge Cup final – Bristol Bears v RC Toulon
Friday, October 16 – Stade Maurice-David, Aix-en-Provence (21.00)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ire); Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ire), George Clancy (Ire); TMO: Brian McNeice (Ire)

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Heineken Champions Cup final – Exeter Chiefs v Racing 92
Saturday, October 17 – Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol (16.45)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wal); Assistant referees: Mike Adamson (Sco), Craig Evans (Wal); TMO: Ian Davies (Wal)

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Shaylen 2 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 8 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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