Nigel Owens has carved out quite a reputation for himself on social media in recent years but the veteran referee was in his element at the start of this week with tweets about PRO14 duty and high jinx at a pre-2019 Rugby World Cup referees camp.

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Set to create history during the Autumn Nations Cup by becoming the first referee to take charge of 100 Test matches, Owens limbered up for that milestone with some PRO14 action in Belfast on Monday night. 

He was appointed to take charge of the Ulster versus Glasgow meeting at Kingspan Stadium but needed the help of an assistant to save him from an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. 

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Owens turned up for the match having not realised he had packed two right-footed boots for his trip to Ireland and he needed Frank Murphy to bail him out by offering him a left boot. 

The referee tweeted: “It was great to be back refereeing in the PRO14. Well done and thank you Ulster and Glasgow for playing a great game. It was a pleasure to ref. Had to borrow boots from my AR Frank Murphy as I bought two right-footed different boots. Schoolboy error.”

That tweet, though, wasn’t the end of the merriment as Owens had earlier tweeted in response to Wayne Barnes setting him up with the publishing of a pre-2019 World Cup video. The footage starts with the pair on the climb up in a roller coaster and what follows is a comedic caper with Barnes roaring laughing and Owens distressed and scared of the ride. 

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“I will not be doing another Rugby World Cup, and here is the reason why my friends,” Owens tweeted in reply to Barnes who had written: “Glad to have been of service in posting Nigel Owens’ and my Japanese rollercoaster ordeal. For the full experience, there’s a whole two minutes of it on YouTube.”

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