Joubert chosen to take charge of final
Tuesday 18 October 2011
The Springboks may no longer be masters of all they survey, but South African refereeing continues to rule the roost. Craig Joubert, a corporate banker from Pietermaritzburg, will control this weekend's World Cup final between New Zealand and France at Eden Park after prevailing over Alain Rolland of Ireland – no great surprise, given Joubert's relatively easy ride in the semi-final between the All Blacks and the Wallabies, as opposed to his rival's more difficult journey through the controversial tie between Les Bleus and Wales.
"Craig's selection was entirely on merit," said Paddy O'Brien, the New Zealander who manages the elite group of Test-calibre referees on behalf of the International Rugby Board. "We continue to work together as a unit and maintain a zero-tolerance attitude towards infringements and foul play across key areas of the game. We may be nearing the conclusion of what has been a truly superb World Cup, but our focus remains firmly on consistency, penalising the 'clear and obvious' and tackling the 'big five' concerns."
Wales know all about the "big five", for one of them is tip-tackling: the offence for which captain Sam Warburton was dismissed by Rolland early in the semi-final against France, with such calamitous consequences. The remaining priorities identified by O'Brien before the tournament were the "cadence" at the scrum engagement, midfield offsides, obstruction at the maul and, most crucially, the release of tackled players at the breakdown. Whether there has been consistency in all areas is open to debate, but there is no doubt that the ruthless treatment of tip-tackling offenders has been a feature of this cup.
O'Brien insisted Rolland's handling of the Warburton incident had not counted against his challenge for a second successive final and there was no reason to suspect him of insincerity. Joubert did not start the tournament as a favourite for preferment at the business end of proceedings but he made a very decent job of the high-pressure game between England and Scotland and also presided over an excellent quarter-final between Wales and Ireland.
Friday's bronze-medal match between Wales and Australia has been awarded to the English official Wayne Barnes, who found himself embroiled in controversy here when he declined to consult the television match official over a disputed penalty goal during the Wales-South Africa game in Wellington – a contest decided by a single point.
David De Gea to Real Madrid: Spanish club resume £28m pursuit after fending Manchester United off Sergio Ramos
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Transfer news live - Angel Di Maria to leave Manchester United, Emmanuel Adebayor to Aston Villa
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015 Third Test Day One report: England skittle Australia for 136, James Anderson takes six wickets, Ian Bell hits half-century
Nicolas Otamendi to Manchester United: Sergio Ramos is only defender of interest to Louis van Gaal
- 1 Model's video shoot on the beach interrupted by sudden landing of a group of illegal migrants
- 2 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 3 Cara Delevigne addresses awkward interview on Good Day Sacramento
- 4 MH370: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
- 5 MH370 debris: Investigators 'confident' that Boeing 777 wing found - live updates
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Calais crisis: For desperate migrants it is 'England or death' as they brave dogs, riot police and speeding trains