Cape Town - Craig Joubert deserves plaudits for making a gutsy call against the home side in the Super Rugby semi-finals this past weekend.
Joubert's decision to award a penalty try to the Highlanders in their clash against the Waratahs in Sydney was a big call at an important juncture of the clash.
The 32 632 home crowd had made clear their disgust at the South African official’s decision to award a penalty try to the New Zealanders and sin-bin flank Jacques Potgieter in the 58th minute of the match.
Potgieter's offence was to swing his arm into the face of Patrick Osborne as the wing was trying to force the ball over the line for the Highlanders' fourth try and a 27-17 lead.
Despite heavy objections from the Australian commentators, Joubert’s decision appeared to be the right one.
He took the call out of the hands of the home-town Television Match Official (George Ayoub) by taking matters into his own hands. Joubert got the TMO to agree that a try “would in all likelihood have been scored” had Potgieter performed a legal tackle on Osborne.
The decision no doubt dashed the Waratahs' hopes of hauling in their opponents, and it was good to see a referee take matters into his own hands.
In the past Joubert had been guilty of making debatable decisions against the visiting side in big matches.
He copped heavy criticism for seemingly favouring the All Blacks in their narrow 8-7 Rugby World Cup final win over France in 2011.
The Crusaders are also still upset after Joubert incorrectly penalised Richie McCaw at the end of last year's Super Rugby final, which allowed Bernard Foley to kick the Waratahs to victory in Sydney.
This time though Joubert had the guts to go against the home side and he deserves praise, especially after a Super Rugby season plagued by some terrible calls made by officials.