Beauden Barrett All Blacks v Ireland: Irish fear New Zealand will ‘play’ referee Nigel Owens

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It’s either win or go home, says Angus Ta’avao of the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against Ireland.

The Irish are turning up the heat on colourful Welsh referee Nigel Owens, demanding he doesn’t get “played” by the clever All Blacks in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

The Irish fear Owens’ liking for a free-flowing style falls into the high-paced game plan of the All Blacks.

Slowing that down, particularly around the breakdowns, will be central to Ireland’s chances of getting a third win in their last four tests against New Zealand and sending the defending champions out of the tournament in Japan on Saturday night (11.15pm NZT).

Beauden Barrett Welsh referee Nigel Owens controlled New Zealand's quarter-final at the last World Cup, a 62-13 thrashing of France.


Welsh referee Nigel Owens controlled New Zealand’s quarter-final at the last World Cup, a 62-13 thrashing of France.

“They need Nigel to referee the breakdown,” former Irish international Luke Fitzgerald told theIrish Independent’sThe Left Wing podcast. adding to an outpouring of Irish fears around Owens.

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“I’m really worried about that. I hope he actually does his job and refs the game. He is not there to tell jokes with players, he is there

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