SA referee: Kearns won’t budge
Cape Town - Australian television
commentator and former Wallabies hooker Phil Kearns is throwing leather from
his corner after being bombarded with criticism for accusing South African
referee Craig Joubert of “a shocker” in one of the Super Rugby semi-finals on
Kearns, once a Waratahs favourite, was
savaged by New Zealand fans on social media for suggesting Joubert, who
officiated in the last World Cup final, had made various poor calls in the
Tahs’ 35-17 home reverse to the Highlanders, which saw the defending champions
“Craig Joubert’s had a shocking game
tonight; there’s no doubt about it,” Kearns was heard to say during the
He was especially aggrieved by the official
both yellow-carding Jacques Potgieter, the Waratahs’ blindside flank, and
awarding a penalty try, after Joubert’s fellow South African high-tackled the
Highlanders’ Patrick Osborne inches from the tryline.
But Kearns told the New Zealand Herald on
Monday that he stood by his accusations.
“If you’re having a good game as a referee
you don’t have 30 000 people chanting ‘Joubert’s a w*nker’. And at the end ...
he got booed off the field. That would tend to indicate that he didn’t have a
“I think Joubert’s performance overall was
average. I thought there were a lot of inconsistencies ... in the commentary
position you just call it as you see it.”
Kearns has previously been accused of being
a “one-eyed Waratah”, but he insisted he also handed out praise to the
Highlanders en route to their clear-cut victory in Sydney.
“It just so happens that Australians think
New Zealand and South African commentators are the most biased in the world,
the South Africans think the Australian and Kiwi commentators are the most
biased in the world and the Kiwis think the South African and Australian
commentators are the most biased in the world.
“You can’t win.”