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Video: How referee Nigel Owens reacted when he realised he had no yellow card to sin-bin a Dragons player

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

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Nigel Owens last month announced his retirement as a Test referee at the age of 49 but the international level centurion began 2021 in amusing fashion when he forgot to bring his cards with him onto the Parc y Scarlets pitch, a situation that resulted in him sin-binning a Dragons player without using the yellow card.


Much love was expressed in December when the veteran referee decided to step away from the Test scene after a stellar 17-year stint culminated in his 100th appearance in the France versus Italy Nations Cup match held in Paris.

The club scene is now where Owens will continue to referee and he left TV commentators in fits of giggles on Friday when he was refereeing the Guinness PRO14 derby between Welsh sides Scarlets and Dragons, a game won 20-3 by the Scarlets.

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It was with the game poised at 6-3 in the 55th minute when Owens, after speaking with Dragons captain Harrison Keddie, realised he had forgotten to bring his cards when he reached for them in his pocket with his right hand.

To his credit, he reacted spontaneously, dispatching Matthew Screech to the touchline with a sheepish smile and a wag of his finger rather than brandishing a yellow card.

That yellow card only came some seconds later when assistant referee Adam Jones hurriedly ran onto the pitch to Owens to give him replacement cards after Screech had walked away. Here is how the incident unfolded on live television:


NIGEL OWENS: We have professional tackle with the ball because the ball is nowhere near and he has taken a player clearly out with his position and that is going to be a yellow card against your second row… I haven’t got my cards.

TV COMMS 1: He hasn’t got his cards.

TV COMMS 2: We said it was going to be something interesting. Nigel Owens has forgotten his cards. On comes Adam Jones. We wanted some entertainment and he has found the replacement card.

Owens has form this season for amusing PRO14 fans with his treasured antics. It was only a few months ago that he admitted taking the wrong road to Cork after refereeing a Munster match in Limerick, adding more than an hour to his nighttime journey.




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