Nigel Owens says that rugby union saved his life while looking forward to setting a new landmark as the world’s top referee this weekend.
The Welshman will become the first official to referee 100 Tests when he oversees France versus Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup on Saturday in Paris and will do so as one of the most popular and respected faces in the sport.
His story has a backdrop of resilience too, having come out in the wake of attempting to take his own life.
“I spent about nine to 10 years of my life pretending to be someone I wasn’t and that nearly cost me my life,” he told World Rugby’s Between the Lines podcast.
“From that day on, when I had that second chance, I’ve always said to myself, ‘Just be yourself’.
“I’d like to think that I have contributed something to the game over the years and if I have, then I am really glad, because believe me, I owe more to rugby and the people in the sport, than rugby will ever owe to me.
“If it wasn’t for the great sport rugby is, I wouldn’t be able to be who I am today. Rugby saved my life.”
Owens, who turns 50 next year, added that he never expected to reach the numbers he has with the whistle.
“When you do referee, you don’t really think about milestones. When I got my 71st cap, I became the most capped referee, I overtook Jonathan Kaplan.
“It wasn’t something I was chasing, but something you become aware of and something you become very proud of,” he said.
“It is very similar now with this 100. If I was to tell you I don’t really care about numbers, and if any referee was to tell you that, I don’t think they are being very honest with you because it is something special, something you can look back at.
“With the excellent quality of referees that are about now, very young ones as well, I think they’ll be quite a few of them in the years to come reaching the 100-cap milestone.”
It started as a dream to link outback towns by air and grew into a global icon, flying more than 50 million passengers a year around the world.
Over the past century, the legacy of Qantas has grown to become much more than an airline — the flying kangaroo is now a globally recognised brand.
Today, 100 years since the airline was founded in western Queensland, a good-natured outback rivalry over the story of the airline’s formation shows no signs of losing breath, as three towns lay claim to being the birthplace of Qantas.
Longreach, Cloncurry and Winton — located in the state’s remote outback — each say they are the true home of the national carrier.
“It’s a very proud western Queensland story that couldn’t have happened anywhere else,” said Jeff Close, an amateur historian from the town of Winton, 1,300 kilometres north-west of Brisbane.
Dream springs from Cloncurry riverbed
A century ago, on November 16, 1920, Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited was registered.
Its co-founders, Sir Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, had wanted to establish an airline to alleviate the tyranny of distance facing residents living in Australia’s outback.
“We go with what Sir Hudson Fysh himself said,” Mr Close said.
In 1919, then prime minister Billy Hughes announced a prize of 10,000 British pounds for a Great Air Race for Australians who wanted to fly home from Great Britain after World War I.
Fysh and McGinness were tasked with surveying possible aircraft landing strips across western Queensland and the Northern Territory.
As they travelled over rough terrain from Longreach to Darwin in a Ford Model T, at an average speed of 25 kilometres per day, the pair hatched a plan to establish an air service connecting remote communities.
But according to Hamish Griffin, a Cloncurry resident and advocate for cheaper regional airfares, it was in the dry riverbed of the Cloncurry River that the idea really gained traction.
“If people really, really do a deep dive into the story of how it came about, they would really know that Cloncurry was definitely the founding place of Qantas,” Mr Griffin said.
In December 1919, McGinness came to the aid of a wealthy grazier whose car had broken down in the riverbed.
They formed a friendship and the grazier, Fergus McMaster, agreed to financially back the plans for an airline.
Early moneymen hail from Winton
But Mr Close says it was 347 kilometres away in Winton, to the south-east of Cloncurry, that Qantas really took flight.
“Winton really is and was the mover and shaker as … the early money mainly came from Winton,” Mr Close said.
He said five of the company’s eight original shareholders were from Winton.
“They put the money up and got it going,” Mr Close said.
The airline’s first board meeting was held at the Winton Club on February 10, 1921.
The club is still there today, proudly displaying the company’s original articles of association, which list Winton as the airline’s headquarters.
Mr Close feels so strongly about Winton’s role in the airline’s story, he wrote a play about Qantas and performed it at the Winton Club on the airline’s 90th anniversary.
Next year he plans on putting on another play, to recreate the first board meeting in the room it took place in a century earlier.
Longreach becomes airline’s home
A decision was made at that meeting to move operations to Longreach, for logistical reasons.
The town is now home to the Qantas Founders Museum, where visitors can tour significant aircraft including the Super Constellation, the first pressurised plane, and the first jet aircraft the airline owned — the Boeing 707-138 VH-EBA, named “City of Canberra”.
“Longreach had the rail head, the major services came into Longreach, the railway stopped here,” said Tony Martin, the museum’s CEO.
The hangar built in 1922 to house the planes is now a national heritage-listed site.
It’s the oldest civil aviation building in Australia.
“It’s the place where the airline began its operations,” Mr Martin said.
“How exciting is that?”
Qantas is ‘Vegemite, thongs … it’s home’
A century on, the residents of Cloncurry, Winton and Longreach still like to wind each other up about which town can really claim to be the birthplace of Qantas.
Mr Griffin said that because the museum was located in Longreach, it could be “forgiven” for portraying itself as the birthplace of the airline.
But he said, with a wry smile, the record needed to be set straight.
Mr Close said the three towns squabbled over the airline’s history like siblings.
With a grin, Mr Martin admitted he could be guilty of stoking the “great friendly rivalry” between the towns.
“If I could say to our neighbouring towns, I guess Longreach, like Qantas, had the vision to tell the story here,” he said.
But, all jokes aside, he said the airline’s 100th anniversary was a chance to celebrate one of western Queensland’s greatest exports.
“For us to be part of a story that’s 100 years old, and is such a global story…,” he said.
President Donald Trump signs a proclamation recognizing the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
OAN Newsroom UPDATED 11:48 AM PT – Tuesday, August 18, 2020
President Trump honored the patriots who secured women’s right to vote. During a ceremony at the White House Tuesday, he signed a proclamation commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
The First Lady as well as members of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission were in attendance and watched as the president announced a pardon for women’s suffrage champion Susan B. Anthony. Well known for her contribution to the movement, Anthony was arrested and convicted in 1872 for voting illegally.
“As we fight to deliver a better future for all women and for all Americans, we remember the wonderful women one century ago,” said President Trump. “While I am president, American will always honor its heroes and we will always honor the patriots who secured women’s right to vote.”
The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission was granted a section of the White House fence in June, which is a landmark where suffragists picketed in 1917. It will be displayed in the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial located in Lorton,Virginia later this year.
Actors portray observers during the re-enactment of Tennessee’s historic vote for the 19th Amendment in the House chamber at the State Capitol on the vote’s 100th anniversary Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, and was the final state needed to achieve a two-thirds majority for passage. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AFL: Robbie Gray kicked a objective immediately after the siren to crack Carlton hearts. Was it his very best intention in his career?
Sam Docherty had circled Spherical 8 on his fixture in 2018 to play his 100th match, ahead of his initial knee reconstruction dominated that out.
He circled the identical game previous 12 months, but missed the complete year with a 2nd knee reconstruction.
The Carlton co-captain will last but not least strike a few figures versus North Melbourne on Saturday, two yrs later but mentally more powerful, a greater teammate and leader, improved for everything he went by way of.
Study Up coming
“It’s taken a truthful little bit for a longer time than I imagined it would,” Docherty reported on Tuesday.
“There’s an additional importance surely due to the fact of the time I expended away from the activity. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there have been occasions through that two a long time off that I did not consider I would get in this article.
“It’s one particular issue I’d performed, I’d picked wherever round 8 experienced been for the past two decades, however it didn’t come about. I’m just psyched to be again participating in footy.
“Getting to the 3 figures is a sizeable milestone for myself but also for my wife at dwelling, she has been by way of a fair bit of this with me. I’m wrapt to operate out there.”
Sidelined for two whole seasons, Docherty became part of the coaching workforce, and mentioned mastering how to greater support others was a critical component of his journey back to participating in.
“I acquired a good deal additional about my psychological health and fitness and my teammates,” he said.
“And staying ready to come back as a leader of the club and study the team and aid the group as substantially as I can has been the most significant factor I have discovered.”
Docherty has rejoined a growing Carlton staff, on the verge of the eight, undone very last 7 days by a “very particular participant and a really incredible kick” when Port star Robbie Gray kicked an immediately after-the-siren, match-successful purpose.
The Blues have a three wins and 4 losses this time, but four of their online games have been decided by 3 points or less.
There’s enjoyment all-around them, so a lot so Carlton will start off favorite against the Kangaroos for the very first time due to the fact 2012.
The skipper sets his sights on a century.
It is been a extended time coming: this is what Sam Docherty explained to media forward of his 100th AFL activity this weekend.#OwnTheFuture
Docherty mentioned it was significant to “embrace” the expectation and the slim loss to Port was a lot less of s strike to their assurance, but additional affirmation they are shut to where he and his teammates consider they must be.
“I consider tit possibly cements what we were by now pondering with the place our group is at. We are a group wanting to execute at a higher degree 7 days in, 7 days out and we believe we have the abilities to do that,” he said.
“I really do not believe previous weekend adjusted both of those items
“We received crushed by a gun participant kicking an remarkable target from the boundary. We have played in shut games, appear absent with a pair, and lost a couple this calendar year.
“But in phrases of the group’s confidence, it confirmed us precisely what we require to do to be a good footy facet.”
Sporting activities Author
Russell Gould is a senior Herald Sunshine sportswriter with practically 20 a long time expertise throughout a large range of athletics from cricket to golf to rugby league to horse racing and AFL, producing both information and in depth fea… Examine a lot more