Nigel Owens is back in business on the European stage, the veteran referee from Wales appointed to take charge of next Saturday’s Racing versus Saracens Champions Cup semi-final in Paris. 

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Eyebrows were raised when Owens was omitted from duties at any of last weekend’s eight fixtures across the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals.   

He took to Twitter on September 8 to explain what he would be doing with his unexpected free time, posting: “With no appointments to referee for next few weeks at least life on the farm is keeping one very busy and active.”

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However, the 2015 World Cup final referee is now back on deck, ready to take charge of the big showdown in Paris, an unexpected semi-final fixture as the consensus prior to last weekend was that Leinster would be hosting Clermont in Dublin only for both clubs to lose their home quarter-finals.  

IRFU referee Andrew Brace, who was in charge of the recent Guinness PRO14 final featuring Leinster vs Ulster, will take charge of Saturday’s other Heineken Cup semi-final, the Sandy Park meeting of Exeter and Toulouse. 

Ireland’s Frank Murphy and Scotland’s Mike Adamson have been appointed to the respective Challenge Cup semi-finals, starting with Bristol vs Bordeaux on Friday followed by Toulon against Leicester the following night.  

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HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP SEMI-FINALS
(Kick-offs local time)

RACING 92 v SARACENS
Saturday – Paris La Défense Arena 14.00
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

EXETER CHIEFS v TOULOUSE
Saturday – Sandy Park 15.30
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)

CHALLENGE CUP SEMI-FINALS
(Kick-offs local time)

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BRISTOL BEARS v BORDEAUX-BEGLES
Friday – Ashton Gate Stadium 19.45
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)

RC TOULON v LEICESTER TIGERS
Saturday – Stade Félix Mayol 21.00
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)

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