Nigel Owens has revealed how a letter from Bill Beaumont came to his emotional aid after he was subjected to homophobic abuse while refereeing.
Owens, one of the world’s top officials, suffered the abuse refereeing England’s game with New Zealand at Twickenham in 2014.
Within a couple of days, RFU chairman Beaumont, the ex-England captain, had sent a handwritten letter to Owens offering his and the rest of world rugby’s support.
Owens talks about the gesture in the second film in an emotive series titled the ‘Spirit of Rugby’, made by Dove Men+Care, one of Unilever’s leading male toiletries brands, which was launched today.
The film highlights the spirit and togetherness in rugby and its launch comes ahead of Pride Cymru, taking place in Cardiff this weekend.
Owens has been a Patron for the charity for a number of years, campaigning to stamp out sexual discrimination in sport since coming out as gay in 2007.
“The letter I received from Bill made a huge impression on me,” said Owens, regarded as one of the world’s top referees, of the film.
“The care he showed not only made me feel welcome at Twickenham, but also made me realise that the people who made those comments were very much in the minority.
“This film highlights the impact people can have when united, which is what Pride Cymru is all about. No matter who you are, it’s a brilliant day out for all and I’m extremely proud to be part of it.”
The ‘Spirit of Rugby’ films will continue to be released throughout 2018 leading up to the World Rugby awards in November, at which the Spirit of Rugby Award, in association with Dove Men+Care, will be presented to somebody going above and beyond with an outstanding act of care in the rugby community.
Chris Barron, Unilever Vice President of Personal Care, said: “We’re excited to be launching this second film in ‘The Spirit of Rugby’ series.
“Nigel and Bill’s story is an inspirational moment, showing the care people connected with the game can show off the pitch.
“As we move closer to the World Rugby Awards in November we will continue to highlight these unique rugby stories celebrating the core values of the game we love.”
To keep up with all Dove Men+Care’s ‘The Spirit of Rugby’ films please visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/dovemencareuk
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