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

(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.

Register your interest for the British & Irish Lions tickets in South Africa 2021

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'

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Bangladesh 0/0
Papua New Guinea 0
loading... Live
Titans 138/10
Dolphins 0
Voting Booth
After the opening weekend of URC action, what did you make of the South African struggles?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
It exposed the quality of South African rugby...
38% - 2072 votes
There were positives to take
7% - 362 votes
We shouldn't read too much into one weekend
17% - 907 votes
It will take the SA sides time to adjust to the new competition
39% - 2133 votes