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Rugby Referee Nigel Owens Scolded Players For Swearing In Front Of Children

"There's a time and a place for it," referee Nigel Owens told BuzzFeed News.

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Rugby referee Nigel Owens called out players for swearing at Friday night's European Rugby Champions Cup match between Northampton Saints and Racing 92.

Pete Norton / Getty Images

Referee Nigel Owens in action during the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Northampton Saints and Racing 92 at Franklin's Gardens on 18 December 2015.

"There are children watching at home!" Owens can be heard to say after players loudly threw expletives around the pitch.

Owens told BuzzFeed News that while he doesn't think swearing in sport is a huge problem, "we must make sure it doesn't become one".

He said that it's important to ensure that good rugby values are upheld, especially when children would be able to hear the bad language.

"It's not acceptable to swear out loud," Owens said, "especially when others watching in the ground or at home can hear you."

"Don't swear there are children watching at home!" Ref @nigelrefowens puts rugby stars in their place. #ChampionsCup

While Owens told us that he himself will swear from time to time, "there's a time and a place for it".

Earlier this year, Newcastle United boss Steve McLaren banned players at the Premier League football team from swearing.

His assistant Paul Simpson said that McCLaren had previously enforced a similar policy at Derby as a way of enforcing discipline, according to BBC Sport.

"If you're ranting and raving and swearing, you haven't got control," Simpson said.

"We say you are losing it so you may as well come and sit in the dugout."

Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at

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