'Once is still too many' - Referee Nigel Owens battled bulimia over Christmas period

International rugby referee Nigel Owens has said his ongoing struggle with bulimia nervosa returned over Christmas.

Luke Chivers and international rugby referee Nigel Owens open up about their struggles with bulimia. Source: Sunday

The eating disorder also resurfaced in the lead up to his career pinnacle - the 2015 Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia.

The Welsh referee gives an openly frank interview on his struggles with Bulimia. Source: Sunday

On BBC Radio Two's Jeremy Vine Show, Owens was asked about if he felt he had overcome the disorder, reported Wales Online.  

"If you'd have asked me this two weeks ago, I'd have said yes," he said. 

"Unfortunately in the last two weeks and the Christmas period, the pressures of Christmas and the drinking and eating too much, I have made myself ill unfortunately once or twice in the last couple of weeks when I see myself putting a bit of weight on, knowing I was too eating too much.

"I managed to keep it at bay for the best part of seven or eight months but unfortunately it has come back a bit now.

"Not as frequently as the past, but once is still too many. It's an ongoing battle that I need to think about how am I going to deal with it and get some expert help.

Owens spoke out about his experience during a BBC Panorama series looking at male eating disorders.

"It was a secret I was still battling to control as I stepped on to the pitch to referee the Rugby World Cup in 2015," he told the BBC.

The 46-year-old - the most-capped referee in history - also spoke about coming out as gay in "one of the most macho sports on the planet", and how he was one of the first sportsmen to talk about his suicide attempt.

He said growing up he found himself attracted to men and he "couldn't figure out what on earth was going on".

"Desperate not to become this person, I struggled to suppress him," he said.

Owens became depressed and was overweight. He was 18 when he began making himself sick.

"Mental health issues, depression over my sexuality, bulimia and steroids - my life was an unrelenting nightmare."

Anyone worried about themselves or a friend or family member can contact EDANZ on 0800 2 EDANZ or (09) 5222679.



Watch: The adorable moment Kiwi cyclist George Bennett gained a young fan for life

Kiwi cyclist George Bennett may have had a disappointing finish on the Tour of Spain but a video has emerged that is sure to win him plenty of fans despite the result.

Bennett finished outside the top 10 at the Vuelta a Espana but took time on the final stage to make one young fan's day.

After receiving applause from the young supporter, Bennett decided to give him an unexpected reward for his enthusiastic cheers during one of the event's climbs – his water bottle.

The moment was caught on video and shared by the boy's family on social media.

The gesture has now been viewed hundreds of thousands of times with many heaping praise on Bennett for the gesture.

Bennett may have had a disappointing finish in the Tour of Spain but he made sure he made someone else’s day. Source: 1 NEWS


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Black Sox welcome back veterans in 25-man squad as attention turns from Europe tour to 2019 World Champs

The Black Sox have welcomed back a wealth of experience as well as another young pitching talent to their squad as they turn their attention from their Europe tour to next year's World Championships.

Coach Mark Sorenson has named a 25-man squad to attend a training camp in Palmerston North later this month.

All 17 players who were part of the successful Intercontinental Cup campaign in Prague last month have been included with veteran stars Nathan Nukunuku, Wayne Laulu, Tyrone Bartorillo, Josh Harbrow and Josh Pettett rejoining the squad as well.

The Black Sox used the trip to Europe as an opportunity to introduce six new caps while also getting a better understanding of the playing environment in Prague, where next year's World Championships are also being held.

"The 17 players who toured this year laid down a marker for what is required next year, but we are also excited about welcoming back some of our veteran players, and the competition for places that this will generate," Sorenson said.

"There are still a number of spots up for grabs in the World Cup squad and this camp represents the first step in making this team."

Sorenson has also included Wellington's Zac Boyd after his impressive showing at the Black Sox trials in February while Auckland catcher Harrison Valk has also been included following his strong performance with the Junior Black Sox at the U19 World Championships.

However a new face in the squad is Cantabrian pitcher Ben Watts.

Watts impressed at the National Open Clubs tournament earlier this year, guiding Papanui to the final before they were taken down by Nukunuku's Mount Albert Ramblers.

It's hoped Watts' selection will "bring plenty of heat to the pitching roster" and "further their depth".

The squad will assemble in Palmerston North from October 26-28.

Black Sox: Pita Rona (North Harbour), Benjamin Enoka, Campbell Enoka, Campbell Gibson, Cole Evans, Daniel Chapman, Eruera Drage, Harrison Valk, Kallan Compain, Nathan Nukunuku, Rhys Evans, Thomas Enoka, Zane Van Lieshout (Auckland), Joel Evans, Joseph Ferriso, Nikki Hayes (Hutt Valley), Jerome Raemaki, Josh Petitt, Wayne Laulu, Zac Boyd (Wellington), Ben Watts, Jackson Watt, Joshua Harbrow, Reilly Makea, Tyron Bartarillo (Canterbury).

Junior Black Sox Reilly Makea bats against Czech Republic.
Junior Black Sox Reilly Makea bats against Czech Republic. Source: Softball NZ

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Watch: Aussie rookie leaves NFL commentators perplexed with use of drop kicks

An Australian kicker playing his first season in the NFL caught the attention of commentators in today's game between the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears by introducing a rugby technique to the sport.

Rookie punter Michael Dickson left ESPN commentators Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten stunned after he performed drop kick kick-offs in the Seahawks' 24-17 loss.

"A drop kick kick-off?" Tessitore asked.

"We are going to send our stat folks into overdrive here, but I'm going to put it out there.

"You tell me the last time you ever saw a drop kick kick-off in the NFL?"

"I don't know if it ever happened Joe," Witten, a star tight end for the Dallas Cowboys for 15 years, replied.

Veteran Sebastian Janikowski usually kicks off for Seattle and uses a tee but coach Pete Carroll, who is known for using non-traditional methods, gambled with Dickson's rugby method.

With 14 seconds left in the game and the Seahawks needing a touchdown to tie, the Aussie attempted a short drop kick hoping his team would recover.

They didn't and the Bears held on for the win, leaving Seattle without a win in their first two games of the new season.

"We're still a work in progress," Carroll said.

"You tell me the last time you ever saw a drop kick kick-off in the NFL?" ESPN's Joe Tessitore said. Source: SKY


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Oxfam claims NZ among countries hit by tax-shifting drug companies

Global charity Oxfam claims four pharmaceutical corporations are not paying $21 million in New Zealand taxes every year by stashing their profits in overseas havens.

It says Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer are systematically shifting their profits to unfairly avoid paying higher tax in the countries where they operate.

Oxfam said the companies avoid billions of dollars in tax across 16 countries.

It found subsidiaries located in tax havens were on average significantly more profitable than those located elsewhere.

"That is not what one would expect if the geographic distribution of profits reflected the geographic distribution of the real value of economic activities," it said.

It is calling on the Government to require multinational corporations based here to publish key financial information about their operations in every country.

The charity said New Zealand took positive steps this year by passing the Tax (Neutralizing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Act.

Its New Zealand executive director, Rachael Le Mesurier, said the companies' practices were not unlawful but they were depriving governments of money to spend on public services and alleviating poverty.

"In no way is Oxfam saying that these companies have undertaken anything strictly illegal but what it does involve is a complex mechanism of setting up where their patents are based for their medicines," she said.

Inland Revenue calls Oxfam report methodology "completely misrepresenting"

But John Nash from Inland Revenue said the charity was using methodology which completely misrepresented what was happening in this country.

"Oxfam have applied a global average profit margin, which attributes just far too much profit to New Zealand, you really need to look at what is actually done in New Zealand, what functions are performed here, what assets are utilised and what risks are taken."

He said IRD's monitoring of companies is detailed.

"We have a comprehensive compliance programme which looks at all multinational companies with $30 million of turnover and upwards so we really do cover the field quite comprehensively.

But Mr Nash would not be drawn in on whether the four multinationals named by Oxfam were shifting profits overseas and said he could not comment on specifics.

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said he had asked officials to look into Oxfam's report.

"I won't be talking to the companies [named by Oxfam] but I will be asking officials just for a brief report on the Oxfam document and give me an idea on whether their figure was close to the mark or in fact the modelling they used was way off," he said.

New legislation tightening rules on tax for multinational companies came into effect in July, Mr Nash said.

He suspected the effects of the legislation to already be happening.

All the firms say they abide by tax laws and pay all taxes owed in New Zealand.

In a statement, a Pfizer spokesperson said it abides by all accounting and tax laws wherever it does business and pays all taxes due.

Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel said it does not sell pharmaceuticals in New Zealand.

"Abbott is a responsible and transparent tax payer, paying all of its taxes owed in every country in which it operates around the world," Mr Stoffel said in a statement.

"With businesses in more than 150 countries, our tax contribution is substantial and global in scope, and we make significant contributions to the health and economies of societies around the world.

"This includes the impact of our products, people, taxes, and purchases of local goods and services, as well as public-private partnerships to strengthen health systems and meet critical health needs."

Johnson & Johnson said as well as paying its fair share of taxes, it also worked closely with the New Zealand government to deliver greater access to life-saving medicines.

"The Oxfam report released today paints a distorted picture of Johnson & Johnson's commitment to the patients and the global communities we serve and to Johnson & Johnson's commitment to paying our fair share of taxes," it said in a statement.

"Johnson & Johnson complies with tax requirements in every jurisdiction, including New Zealand, where we operate with consistently high accounting, tax filing and tax reporting standards.

"Johnson & Johnson's publicly filed financial statements show $27.67 billion in income taxes from 2013 to 2017, before significant additional contributions for VAT/sales taxes, employment taxes, social contributions, property taxes, import and customs duties," it said.

"In addition, Johnson & Johnson values and strives for cooperative and transparent relationships with taxing authorities including the Inland Revenue Department in New Zealand."

By Gill Bonnett 

rnz.co.nz

Pharmacist holding medicine box and capsule pack in pharmacy drugstore.
Pharmaceuticals on pharmacy shelf (file picture). Source: istock.com