Craig Joubert (Gallo)
Cape Town – Ostracised for his involvement
in one of the key flashpoints of RWC 2015, South African referee Craig Joubert
seems to be winning back favour, at least in the influential UK media, in a
The 37-year-old official, who saw no
further World Cup service after his fiercely-debated late penalty for offside
which decisively tilted one of the quarter-finals 35-34 in Australia’s favour
over underdogs Scotland, features strongly – and with an overwhelmingly
sympathetic theme – in post-tournament summaries by leading British newspapers.
For example, several of the RWC analysts
used by the Daily Telegraph (www.telegraph.co.uk)
specifically referred to “Joubert-gate” when asked to suggest their personal
“lowlights” of an otherwise much-trumpeted World Cup.
Ever-outspoken former England hooker Brian
Moore said in his answer to the category: “(It was) the personal abuse of
referee Craig Joubert, especially by some former internationals.
“Respect for the referee in rugby is a
one-way street and must continue to be so ... without them there is no game.”
This, meanwhile, was former Scotland backline
star and long-time British and Irish Lions head coach Sir Ian McGeechan’s
reply: “The aftermath of the (Joubert) decision. Sorry to see him run straight
to the tunnel (after blowing the final whistle), but he should not have been
made to suffer abuse from those who should know better.
“World Rugby let a good referee down badly,
especially as the TMO (television match official) was out of the equation.”
Scribe Daniel Schofield admitted in his own
response to the category: “Everything around the Craig Joubert affair was
Support for Joubert also came through a
similar RWC post-mortem by The Guardian (www.theguardian.com).
In their category for “biggest
disappointment” at the event, rugby writer Paul Rees answered: “World Rugby’s
precipitous statement on (Joubert) after his late penalty against Scotland; it
was not his decision that was at fault but the governing body’s rules and
Their chief sports correspondent Owen
Gibson, asked “one thing I would change for 2019”, indirectly brought Joubert
into it: “Referees should be allowed to consult the TMO if they deem it
necessary at any time in exceptional circumstances.”
Durban-born Joubert refereed the 2011 RWC
final, and may now find that he is drawn back in from his recent “wilderness”
following that 2015 quarter-final ...
our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing