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South African rugby referee roused the ire of rugby union fans

by Sean Gibson
19 Oct 2015 at 09:53hrs | Views
Quicker than he looks: Referee Craig Joubert, pre-flight Photo: Rex Features
Rugby World Cup referee Craig Joubert has roused the ire of rugby union fans after he capped a performance of debatable quality in the Australia-Scotland quarter-final by sprinting off the pitch at the end.

Jourbert's decision to hot-foot it from the field without so much as a by-your-leave, let alone a handshake for either captain, has been roundly condemned - not least by the BBC pundit team covering the game live.

Matt Dawson said Joubert's actions were 'disrespectful' and 'despicable', while probably the strongest condemnation of all came from former Scottish international Gavin Hastings.

"That is the worst thing I have seen on a rugby field in a long time," Hastings told BBC Radio 5 live. "He is not prepared to face up to the players.

"That is not the spirit of rugby. He should be sent home tomorrow and he should not be allowed to make an international rugby commitment again.

"If I see referee Craig Joubert again, I am going to tell him how disgusted I am. It was disgraceful that he ran straight off the pitch at the end like that."

Joubert was already in the bad books of Scotland fans after an apparently harsh yellow card early in the second-half for Sean Maitland, based on TMO evidence.

This was compounded by the controversial award of the last-minute, match-winning penalty that put Australia up 35-34. Many fans called for Joubert to refer to the TMO, although World Rugby subsequently confirmed he was right not to do so.

Dejected Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw, who kicked 19 points, highlighted Joubert's uncertainty when making the decision.

"I asked Joubert (about the penalty) on several occasions. I'm not sure what the protocols are," Laidlaw said. "I think you can see from the way he was taking his time....he was certainly having a look at the big screen and wasn't sure himself.

"And then he made a sharp exit at the end of the game, that's for sure. I never got a chance to speak to him after the game, he was off that quick.

"It looked like to me that it hit Nick Phipps and it went back and then another player caught it. I've not had a chance to look at it on the TV, but at the time I thought there was an Aussie arm. But we're not the type of people to blame the little things."

The general public reflected even less favourably on Joubert's decision, though there has been speculation that Joubert was fleeing an object or objects being thrown at him.

Source - telegraph