Rugby referee Nigel Owens is blowing the whistle on stupidity.

The Welshman, who officiated the heartbreaking World Cup semi-final between England and New Zealand, is used to putting footy stars in their place but this time he had a stern word with a misguided Twitter user.

Owens is as well known in rugby circles as many of the players he oversees and he was recruited by Citroen this year to take centre stage in an ad for the car manufacturer's C5 Aircross SUV, reports

Looking very spiffy in a tuxedo as he drives the car through the woods, the ad sees Owens try to teach a wild bear the art of sophistication — by giving it a haircut, overseeing its cello practise and dressing it up in matching clothes.

Nigel Owens doesn't suffer fools. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Nigel Owens doesn't suffer fools. Photo / Mark Mitchell

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As far-fetched as that sounds, it's probably still a lot more realistic than a rugby match without any penalties.

Not everyone saw the humour in Citroen's campaign though. At a time when animal cruelty is under the microscope in Australia during the spring racing carnival, at least one person in the world was keen to make sure we don't forget about the bears.

Please, won't somebody think of the bears!

In a since-deleted tweet, Katie Marshall wrote: "Very concerned and sad to see @CitroenUK & @Nigelrefowens using a bear to advertise their cars.

"This is wrong on every level and promotes the use of animals to perform demeaning and unnatural tricks to entertain the public."

Marshall then signed off by tagging conservation and animal welfare advocates in her tweet.

But Owens couldn't bear to remain silent after his integrity was questioned and clawed back.


In a plot twist to rival the shock of finding out Darth Vader was actually Luke Skywalker's father (it doesn't count as a spoiler if it comes nearly 40 years after the film was released), Owens dropped a bomb.

Turns out the bear wasn't a real bear at all.

Owens' response garnered nearly 500 comments and was liked more than 9000 times as the Twittersphere got behind him.

To be fair to Marshall, we wouldn't want Pudsey the Bear — the logo and mascot for UK charity Children in Need — near a car either. Especially not behind the wheel with only one eye to see out of.

Still, even if the bear was real, there's little doubt Owens could control it — he could handle Richie at the breakdown.