Joubert reflects on RWC final

2011-12-21 09:46

Auckland - While the All Blacks finish the year as the world champions, the ranks of the refereeing fraternity also boast something of a 'winner' with South African official Craig Joubert overseeing the 8-7 win over France.

According to the website, Joubert effectively finished the season ranked as the best referee in world rugby, given the honour of overseeing the Rugby World Cup final, his third major competition decider - having overseen the Super Rugby final against Bulls and Stormers at Orlando Stadium and last season’s Currie Cup final between the Sharks and Western Province in Durban.

The 34-year-old said that like rugby teams, referees carefully prepared themselves in between World Cups.

"The Rugby World Cup final was without doubt the highlight of my career,” he said.

“Like the players we (referees) use the four-year cycle to prepare for a World Cup.

"For me it was a big goal to referee at the World Cup, so it was a huge moment when I was selected as one of the 10 referees to go to the event. And to referee a quarter-final, semi-final and final in the biggest tournament in world rugby was the cherry on the top."

While Joubert is no stranger to overseeing matches involving the All Blacks in their own backyard, he said the final was something of a surreal experience.

"I’ve done a number of big matches in New Zealand, including New Zealand versus Australia clashes and I refereed France in New Zealand," he said.

"But on the day of the World Cup final I realised that the match was way bigger than anything I had experienced before. The whole country came to a standstill. The streets were lined with supporters all the way to the stadium, so it was a level above anything I had experienced."

The French response to the haka was quite a start said Joubert.

"I thought the French reaction to the haka was a massive statement of intent by them that they were really fired up for the game, and I knew then it would be some Test match," said Joubert.

He said forefront on his mind was that he didn’t want to ruin the match with an incorrect, or more to the point, no decision at all.

"Then you get to the last half hour and there is one point in the match with the score at 8-7, and I knew that every decision I made and non-decision I made would influence the outcome of the World Cup,” he said.

"At that point what becomes important is to referee the clear and obvious. So for the last 30 minutes I said to myself, if something obvious happens I need to have the courage to make the decision, but I am not going to look at the marginal decisions that would influence the outcome of the game."


  • Ian - 2011-12-21 09:58

    Sheez _ get new stories man!!

  • hendrik.pienaar - 2011-12-21 10:01

    Missed a few clear breakdown infringements that should have been penalized, at least one that he clearly saw (and was then knocked on by Kaino) but he let it go. Congratulations Craig, you're a good ref, but you didn't have a great final. I'd personally have gone with Kaplan.

      hendrik.pienaar - 2011-12-21 11:06

      @andre. I assume by the hat you're wearing you're an AB supporter - can't support your own countryman hey? Which means you are more then happy to ignore the facts when they benefit you. How do you feel about Wayne Barnes? Yet I need to get a life. Hmm

  • Peter - 2011-12-21 11:56

    The lack of anti NZ and Bryce Lawrence comments on this article is surprising and, to be honest, a little dissappointing. Perhaps we as South Africans have gotten over it. Or maybe all the idiots are down at the coast and not reading news24. The irony of it all is that before the final everyone was was saying that Joubert was the best ref in the world. After the final when he "let the ABs win" he was decried to be rubbish. Personally I think that he is possibly the best ref in the world. He communicates well with the players, knows his laws, is consitent and fit enough to keep up with the game. Good work, sir!!

      goyougoodthing - 2011-12-21 12:29

      Peter the pressure got to him. I know from source that referees have for years been told 50/50 goes with home team. The ABs should have chocked again, Joubert kept them ahead. Sad for a great referee but true.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-22 18:13

      @Goyougood.... Did the pressure get to him during the tri-nations as well? Remind me who are the perienial losers again/? surely it's not the Boks because according to the saffa websites the Boks are the best thing since sliced bread even though they lost aka wooden spooners

  • kobus.muller - 2011-12-22 00:24

    "But on the day of the World Cup final I realised that the match was way bigger than anything I had experienced before. And sadly being the best at the WC did not help you to handle it right, you chocked. Gave the AB,s the game and robbed World rugby off a greatest surprise win ever, a well deserved one for France.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-22 18:20

      Yay, it breaks my heart knowing that you feel hard done by, what's going to be your excuse next year? I love it when Saffas refuse to accept responsibility........give me a clue, is it the ref, AA, John Smit, PDV, politics, every ones out to get you, Brycie, IRB blah blah blah blah. 4 years of excuses. AWESOME

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