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Welsh referee Nigel Owens missed out on an appointment for the final weekend of the Rugby World Cup after suffering a calf injury, costing a him a second consecutive final appearance.
Owens took charge of England’s 19-7 victory over New Zealand in last weekend’s semi-finals and looked to be in contention for the final alongside Frenchman Jerome Garces, given that Wayne Barnes is unable to feature in the match due to England’s presence.
But Owens was stood down from duty after he informed the he World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee that he was struggling with pain in his calf muscle, with injury severe enough that the 48-year-old feared it would hinder his performance.
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Garces will become the first Frenchman to take charge of a World Cup final, although The Independent understands that he the 46-year-old was in line to be awarded the match regardless of the injury to Owens’s, who was set to feature as one of the two assistant referees in Saturday’s final between England and South Africa.
Garces said: “I am honoured and delighted to be appointed to referee the Rugby World Cup 2019 final.
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