Stuart Barnes (Getty Images)
London - Renowned UK rugby expert Stuart Barnes has criticised South African
referee Craig Joubert for his handling of the Australia v Scotland Rugby World Cup
Barnes, writing on the SkySports website on Monday, said it was Joubert's performance at Twickenham on Saturday - rather than that of 23 gallant Scottish heroes - that unfortunately grabbed Monday's headlines.
Barnes' biggest gripe was the "utter absence of empathy on the part of
"Let's say that Josh Strauss was the last player to touch the
ball as it ricocheted forward into the nearby arms of Jon Welsh. A few
years ago the decision would have been immediate and non-controversial;
accidental offside and a scrum to Australia," Barnes wrote.
Barnes was of course referring to the 79th penalty awarded to Australia for offsides which gave Wallaby No 10 Bernard Foley the chance to give his side the chance to sneak a 35-34 victory - which he duly did - and book their spot in next weekend's World Cup semi-finals.
"Craig Joubert, in following a trend that makes officiating a matter of black and white
instead of empathetic shades, has made the error of his career and it
has cost Scotland quite possibly a place in the semi-finals of the World
Cup," Barnes concluded.