Twickenham rugby fans accused of shouting homophobic abuse at referee Nigel Owens

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Rugby fans at recent match in Twickenham have been accused of directing homohpboic slurs at referee Nigel Owens.

Nigel Owens, who was the first openly gay man to referee rugby at international level, reportedly had abuse shouted at him after some of his decisions on the pitch during the game between England and the New Zealand All Blacks.

The Guardian reported that a number of fans expressed “disgust” at the homophobic tone of the abuse.

Keith Wilson, from South Yorkshire, wrote: “As a lifelong rugby fan, a straight man in his 60s, I could not believe that a bunch of men half my age watching a rugby match in the 21st century could be capable of hurling such nasty, foul-mouthed, racist, homophobic abuse at an openly gay match official.

“My equally disgusted son is in his 30s but next to him, hearing this vitriol, was a little boy. I felt ashamed.”

He added: “If it had been a football match they’d have been thrown out”.

In 2010, Owens announced his support for a Samaritans campaign to prevent male suicides.

Owens has documented his own struggle with depression and said he tried to kill himself at the age of 26.