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Michael Gove tackles referee over decision that let Australia edge Scotland

Published 20/10/2015

Craig Joubert, pictured centre, made the crucial late call at Twickenham
Craig Joubert, pictured centre, made the crucial late call at Twickenham

Craig Joubert might have been responsible for the greatest injustice seen in Britain for more than 300 years when he awarded the penalty which allowed Australia to edge Scotland out of the Rugby World Cup - according to Justice Secretary Michael Gove.

Mr Gove on Tuesday evening side-stepped into the sporting arena to record his dismay at the South African referee's decision when speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of a new specialist court in London.

He joked that Britain had "perhaps" not seen a worse decision since the 1685 "Bloody Assizes" - when dozens of people were sentenced to death for rebelling against King James II.

Mr Gove, who was born in Edinburgh and educated in Aberdeen, did not name Joubert when speaking to judges and lawyers.

But he said: "The Rugby World Cup, in which one particular referee - who happens not to be an Englishman, was responsible for perhaps the greatest injustice we have seen on British soil since the Bloody Assizes."

Australia clinched a 35-34 win on Sunday when fly-half Bernard Foley converted the penalty 43 seconds from the end of the World Cup quarter final at Twickenham.

Experts said the referee should have awarded Australia the put-in at a scrum for a knock-on - not a penalty for accidental offside.

Mr Gove was speaking at the launch of a new financial court at a ceremony in the Royal Courts of Justice complex.

Referee Craig Joubert has received support from the rugby world
Referee Craig Joubert has received support from the rugby world

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