Rugby Football Union to investigate homophobic abuse against referee Nigel Owens

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The Rugby Football Union has said it will investigate reports of Twickenham fans directing homophobic abuse 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.

According to the BBC, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) was told of the abuse by a supporter who witnessed it taking place.

Owens said: “The RFU will take this seriously and deal with it.”

“It’s important to stop this from getting a bigger problem in the game.

“As a referee it’s not nice to have stuff like this getting back to me and if I was telling you it doesn’t get me down or doesn’t affect me I’d be lying because it does.”

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.