​Nigel Owens confirmed as keynote speaker for Making Rugby Everyone’s Game conference

​Nigel Owens confirmed as keynote speaker for Making Rugby Everyone’s Game conference

Scottish Rugby has today (Friday 28 May) announced world renowned Welsh referee, Nigel Owens MBE as the keynote speaker for the inaugural Making Rugby Everyone’s Game conference, taking place next weekend (Sunday 6 June).

Following a 17-year career on the international rugby scene as a match official, Owens will deliver the keynote address and feature in a live Q&A session at the virtual conference with Scotland’s points’ record-holder and Scottish Rugby ambassador, Chris Paterson.

The conference, which will be hosted via Zoom, aims to support and encourage clubs as they continue to be open, welcoming and inclusive environments within their communities.

The event will include informative workshops delivered by clubs and key partners, along with speakers from the inclusion and diversity sector who will offer advice and guidance.

Nigel Owens, who will close the event, enjoyed an illustrious career, officiating in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final as well as several European club finals, and in 2020 he became the first match official to reach 100 international appointments.

“I am delighted to be speaking at the Making Rugby Everyone’s Game conference next week,” said Owens.

“I’m looking forward to engaging in conversation around the importance of inclusion and diversity in rugby and answering questions from club members and players in Scotland.”

Owens, who came out as gay in 2007, said at the time it was a “big taboo” within the sport, but believes things have positively progressed some 14 years on, adding: “You don’t have to hide who you are in rugby, I’ve demonstrated that. On the whole, rugby is an inclusive and diverse sport, and there is a place for everybody in the game. That’s certainly what I’ve found, and that’s down to the ethos of respect that’s in rugby.

“It’s important that our sport maintains and develops that culture, and we can do that by having open and honest conversations such as those we’ll experience at the Making Rugby Everyone’s Game conference.”

Sheila Begbie, Director of Rugby Development said: “I’m thrilled Nigel Owens will be our keynote speaker at the Making Rugby Everyone’s Game conference.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for club members and players to learn from Nigel’s experiences, and engage in discussion with him about how they can create a positive and inclusive environment within their membership.”

Making Rugby Everyone’s Game conference is open to all players, coaches, match officials, volunteers, club and committee members across the club and school game in Scotland.

Registration for the Making Rugby Everyone’s Game conference is open until Wednesday 2 June.

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