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Nigel Owens - Respect

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Welsh International Rugby Union Referee

Nigel Owens MBE is a Welsh international rugby union referee.

Nigel holds the world record for test match appearances and last month refereed his 100th International match in the Autumn Nations Cup game between France and Italy, becoming the first referee to reach the landmark

In May 2007, Nigel publicly came out as gay in an interview with Wales on Sunday. While reaction was mostly supportive, Nigel said that coming out was a difficult decision:

It’s such a big taboo to be gay in my line of work, I had to think very hard about it because I didn’t want to jeopardise my career. Coming out was very difficult and I tried to live with who I really was for years. I knew I was ‘different’ from my late teens, but I was just living a lie.

Nigel was the first person to come out in Rugby, and in his autobiography 
Half Time, he talks about the challenges of growing up gay in small town Wales, and his battles with drugs, eating disorders, and suicidal depression.

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Chapters

00:00 | Trailer
02:07 | Brian’s thoughts on the episode
04:44 | Brian’s introduction
05:26 | The game of rugby and what it means to Nigel
09:41 | The value of respect in the different culture of rugby from football (soccer)
13:41 | What it is like to walk out as a referee on to the stage of a rugby field
19:37 | Known for his one liners
25:24 | How Nigel reads the temperature of a game of rugby
29:04 | The national rivalries taking place in sporting arenas
32:11 | TMOs, their use and value
34:45 | Rugby team management styles and importance of grass roots rugby
39:49 | Nigel talks proudly and passionately about Wales, the country and its language
44:42 | How Nigel came to be a referee
49:00 | Growing up in Wales, Nigel speaks out against bullying
53:49 | Mental turmoil in coming to terms with his sexuality and of a suicide attempt
1:05:26 | Further years of worry about possible consequences of coming out to the rugby community
1:15:51 | The response to him coming out
1:17:45 | Nigel talks of his journey in order to help others who struggle with mental health issues
1:23:04 | Communication by speaking to people, is key in sport, work and life
1:26:32 | Possible reasons for lack of gay players coming out in other sports
1:32:33 | Only when you are allowed to be true to yourself can you be the best at what you do
1:37:03 | The future of rugby in the context of safety in a hard, dangerous, contact sport
1:41:59 | Success secrets
1:42:44 | What we would be surprised to learn about Nigel
1:48:02 | Nigel’s sadness at not having children
1:52:54 | Phone call to the 20 year old Nigel Owens
1:54:45 | Best advice ever received
1:55:50 | Advice to the young man watching who wants to be a referee like Nigel or a rugby player
1:57:19 | Brian’s summing up.

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