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Irish fans fear Nigel Owens will let All Blacks 'get away with blue murder' in RWC quarter-final

Nigel Owens' appointment as referee for this weekend's Rugby World Cup quarter-final between the All Blacks and Ireland hasn't been welcomed in the northern hemisphere, with Irish fans voicing their dismay at the Welshman.

With Owens last night confirmed as one of four referees to take charge of this weekend's fixtures, Ireland fans and ex-players have made it clear exactly where they stand on the issue.

"I like the referee to referee the game. ABs know they'll be able to cheat all day at breakdown," former Test fullback Luke Fitzgerald tweeted.

"You often hear of the extra 1 [per cent] in great sides, how they seek it every day in training and then implement it on the pitch," added SportsJoe's Rob O'Hanrahan. "For New Zealand, they often find that in pushing a referee to the brink of a card, and then winding it back in."

One fan even drew back to the 2013 Dublin Test match, which saw the All Blacks win after the siren thanks to a Ryan Crotty try, where Aaron Cruden was allowed a second attempt at a conversion.

"I can't stress enough how bad of an appointment Nigel Owens is for Ireland on Saturday," wrote Ricky Elwood.

"He will let them away with blue murder and who can forget the aviva in 2013."

The All Blacks face Ireland in Tokyo on Saturday night NZT.

Referee Nigel Owens Source: Associated Press