Welsh referee Owens to officiate 100th test in Autumn Nations Cup

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool C - England v Argentina - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - October 5, 2019 Referee Nigel Owens reacts during the match REUTERS/Issei Kato

(Reuters) - Welsh rugby union referee Nigel Owens will be the first to officiate in a century of tests after World Rugby confirmed he would take charge of the Autumn Nations Cup clash between France and Italy in November.

Owens is the longest serving member of World Rugby’s elite international panel, notably taking charge of the 2015 World Cup final between the victorious All Blacks and the Wallabies as well as several European Champions Cup finals.

The 49-year-old, who has been a referee for 17 years, cut his teeth in international rugby on the Sevens circuit in 2002, before taking charge of his first 15-man test a year later when Portugal took on Georgia in a second-tier game.

World Rugby also confirmed Joy Neville will become the first woman to perform Television Match Official (TMO) duties at two matches -- Wales v Georgia and Scotland v Fiji -- after impressive performances in elite club rugby competitions.

Neville refereed the 2017 women’s World Cup final when New Zealand beat England.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge