For the third straight World Cup, Nigel Owens will referee the All Blacks in the quarter-final stage at the tournament.

World Rugby announced yesterday the Welsh referee will take charge of the knockout game in Tokyo on Saturday.

Owens has been in charge of 22 All Blacks' tests since 2007, 19 of which ended in New Zealand victories. The only defeats came against South Africa, two in 2009 along with the Springboks' 36-34 win in Wellington last year.

Three of those 19 All Blacks' wins with Owens in charge includes three over Ireland. The All Blacks have a 86.3 percent winning record when the Welshman has the whistle, compared to an overall 87 percent winning record over the same time span.


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In terms of cards, Owens has dished out 10 yellow cards to All Blacks opponents in those 22 games and five to New Zealand players.

Owens has been in charge of 14 Ireland matches since 2008, resulting in nine wins and five defeats for the Six Nations side.

Owens, 47, is no stranger to the pressure of a Rugby World Cup, taking charge of the 2015 final between the All Blacks and Australia at Twickenham, and also holds the record for most Test matches refereed by a single official.

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He was also in charge of the All Blacks' quarter-final thrashing of France in Cardiff four years ago, a rare chance for him to referee a test match in his home country.

Owens was also the referee at two of the All Blacks' victories at the 2011 campaign, a pool win over Japan and a quarter-final victory over Argentina.

"To be honest we're happy with whoever we get," assistant coach Ian Foster said. "At this stage of the tournament, I'm sure World Rugby has worked hard to get the referees they feel are best suited to this stage of the knockouts. It's neither good nor bad but he's obviously a great ref so I'm sure he'll be looking forward to the occasion."

Five key All Blacks' wins with Owens in charge
2017 Rugby Championship - All Blacks 57 South Africa 0
2017 Rugby Championship - All Blacks 35 Australia
2015 World Cup final - All Blacks 34 Australia 17
2014 Northern Tour - All Blacks 24 England 21
2013 Northern Tour - All Blacks 24 Ireland 22


Three All Blacks' defeats with Owens in charge
2018 Rugby Championship - All Blacks 34 South Africa 36
2009 Tri Nations - All Blacks 29 South Africa 32
2009 Tri Nations - All Blacks 19 South Africa 31