Nigel Owens set to referee historic 100th Test

London (AFP) –


Nigel Owens will become the first referee to take charge of 100 Tests after being appointed to oversee France's Autumn Nations Cup clash with Italy on November 28.

It will be the 49-year-old Welshman's second game of the newly-created tournament that replaces the traditional autumn tours, which have been scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic.

His first outing of the competition will be England's Twickenham appointment with Georgia on November 14 -- 17 years after he refereed his first Test.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: "On behalf of everyone at World Rugby, I'd like to say a big congratulations to Nigel Owens on selection for his 100th Test.

"It's a remarkable achievement and testament to his passion for refereeing, his character, unwavering dedication to the highest possible performance and fitness standards and his adaptability over an impressive career."

Ireland's Joy Neville will also make history by becoming the first woman to perform television match official duties when Wales clash with Georgia and Scotland face Fiji, also in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Travel and quarantining restrictions mean that next month's two Bledisloe Cup games between Australia and New Zealand, taking place in New Zealand, will be overseen by non-neutral officials.