LEGENDARY Welsh referee Nigel Owens has brought his 17-year international career after bringing up a century of Tests.

The 49-year-old hit three figures when he was in charge of France versus Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Owens, who made his international debut when in charge of Portugal’s Test against Georgia in 2003, has decided to hang up his whistle.

“Nobody has a divine right to go on forever,” he said. “There comes a time where it’s time to move on so international refereeing will come to end now, that France v Italy game was my last Test match. To go out on 100 is a good time to go.”

Western Telegraph:

Owens, from Mynyddcerrig in Carmarthenshire, was referee for the 2015 World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham.

He was in charge of a seventh European Champions Cup final when Exeter edged out Racing 92 in October and intends to keep going until the end of the current season.

Owens, the world’s most-capped official, said: “I'm not going to be around for (the World Cup in) 2023, I don’t want to be. I still hope to referee in the PRO14 and locally in Wales this season and maybe next as well.

“I will certainly continue to referee in the community game because when you are very fortunate to get so much out of something, I think it’s hugely important that you give something back to it as well.

“I'll also be going into a coaching role with the WRU, helping some of our talented, young referees we have here in Wales, so that is something I'm quite excited about.

“We currently have five referees including myself refereeing at PRO14 level so it will be exciting to help them make further progress as well as our other upcoming male and female referees.”