Nigel Owens

LGBT+ Advocate & World Record Holder for the Most Test Matches Refereed

  • Appointed MBE
  • Stonewall Gay Sports Personality of the Decade 2015
  • Patron of the Bullies Out charity
  • Stonewall Gay Sports Personality of the Year winner
  • Former Patron of the LGBT Centre of Excellence Wales
  • Named in the 2017 Pinc List for leading Welsh LGBT figures
  • World Rugby Referee Award 2015

Nigel Owens is best known as an international rugby referee, having refereed some of the largest matches across Heineken Cups and World Cups. One of only two referees to referee consecutive games during the Heineken Cup, Nigel has built strong skills of leadership and learnt the inner workings of teamwork, both of which he is able to cover as an online event speaker. Nigel is also widely known as an advocate for LGBT support, known for discussing his battles with mental health and his experiences regarding his sexuality. Nigel is also well known for presenting sport themed programmes such as A Minute To Go and Hitting The Bar, and holds the world record for the most test matches refereed.

Back in 1987 Nigel had his first experience refereeing at a school rugby match, and when he was 16 he refereed his first major match when the under 15 Carmarthen team played Pembrokeshire. Showing great qualities of leadership Nigel made his European debut refereeing in the European Challenge Cup Season 2000 and his Heineken Cup debut in 2002. Since his debut, Nigel has refereed countless top tier matches from Rugby World Cups and Six Nation Championships to Heineken Cups and Pro12 games.

During his career as a referee, Nigel announced publicly that he was gay and has since gone on to be an LGBT role model in sport. When struggling with his sexuality, Nigel suffered with bulimia and attempted suicide, which he now speaks about as an online event speaker. In support of the LGBT+ community, Nigel has previously acted as a patron of the LGBT Centre of Excellence Wales, a patron of the Bullies Out charity and has been named on the Pinc List of Leading Welsh LGBT Figures. To raise awareness of mental health and illness, Nigel has also presented a Panorama documentary discussing his own experience with bulimia. An icon of the LGBT community, Nigel has received both the Stonewall Gay Sports Personality of the Year 2007 and Stonewall Gay Personality of the Decade awards.

With a successful career to his name, Nigel is now highly sought to appear as a speaker for online events. Sought for a variety of events, Nigel discusses his successful career as a referee whilst also bringing awareness to topical subjects. An LGBT advocate, Nigel encourages diversity and inclusion in his speeches interweaved with lessons of leadership and teamwork from his time in the world of Rugby.

Official Testimonials

Nigel Owens is regularly booked to engage audiences at virtual events, read their latest feedback below:

“Inspiring, humorous, poignant”

Bridgend County Borough Council

To enquire about Nigel Owens for your next virtual event or webinar, simply contact The Online Speakers Agency via or call a booking agent on 0207 1010 553.