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Owens poised for Welsh referees record.

NIGEL Owens will become Wales' most capped referee when he takes charge of New Zealand v France on June 22.

By winning his 45th cap he overtakes one of the world's all-time great referees, Clydach's Derek Bevan, who refereed 44 Test matches including the 1991 World Cup final.

Owens took charge of his first full international when he refereed Japan v Ireland in 2005 and was on the referee's panel for the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups.

Owens refereed his fifth European final in seven seasons when he took charge of the Amlin Challenge Cup Final between Leinster and Stade Francais on Friday night. He refereed the 2007 Amlin Challenge Cup final between ASM Clermont Auvergne and Bath Rugby, and was took control of the 2008, 2009 and 2012 Heineken Cup finals.

Bridgend's Leighton Hodges will referee his first 'capped' international when he takes charge of the Test between Canada and Ireland on June 15.

He will become the 55th referee from Wales to be awarded his full cap and he will also take charge of the England v Barbarians fixture at Twickenham before the star-studded Barbarians side travel to Hong Kong to face the British and Irish Lions in a one off Test match.

Another Welsh referee to be recognised on the international stage is Ian Davies, from Porthcawl, who will referee at the IRB's Junior World Championship which takes place in France (June 5-23), while Cardiff's Neil Hennessy will act as assistant referee in three Test matches in South Africa.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 24, 2013
Words:253
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