Rugby-Exeter's Baxter, referee Owens among nominees for Writers' Club award

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(Reuters) - Exeter Chiefs' double-winning director of rugby Rob Baxter and Welsh referee Nigel Owens were among the nominees for the Rugby Union Writers' Club (RUWC) Pat Marshall Award for 2020 named on Thursday.

Baxter's Exeter completed a momentous double in the 2019-20 season when they lifted the European Champions Cup and Premiership titles, 10 years after climbing out of the second division Championship.

Owens, who ended his 17-year international career earlier this month, is the most-capped referee in world rugby and the first to officiate in 100 tests when he took charge of an the Autumn Nations Cup game between France and Italy last month.

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has also been nominated after he eclipsed All Blacks great Richie McCaw's milestone of 148 test caps to become rugby's most capped player.

France's electric scrum half Antoine Dupont has also been nominated while former Samoa international Dan Leo was also named in recognition for his representation of Pacific Island players.

The winner will be announced through RUWC's Twitter account after the annual dinner was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi won the award last year after leading South Africa to the World Cup crown in Japan.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)