Jonathan Kaplan on the best referee in the world: Nigel Owens 'is a mile ahead'

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

For Jonathan Kaplan, an international refereeing legend and a man who officiated in 70 Test matches, Welshman Nigel Owens is without a doubt the best referee currently in world rugby.

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Sport24 asked Kaplan his views on the men who control the game during a wide-ranging interview last week. 

READ | Jonathan Kaplan recalls 'Bryce Lawrence game': I think he froze

Kaplan, who officiated in his first Test in 1996, says Owens has several contributing factors that make him the best in the world.

"Nigel has been my choice probably since I have retired, I would say," said Kaplan.

"I know that (Wayne) Barnes has done well and may have got a crack at this final (2019 Rugby World Cup) had England not made it, but I vastly prefer Owens' style and how he promotes the game.

"I think he has refereed some of the best rugby games I have seen. I just think he is a mile ahead," he added.

Kaplan himself officiated at four Rugby World Cups - 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 - including the semi-final between England and France in 2007.

In all, he refereed 425 first-class matches and brought to the game a style and application that was unique.

ALSO READ | Jonathan Kaplan on Springbok greats: Os du Randt, Victor Matfield 'stood out'

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