Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Henry happy with Joubert’s final call

New Zealand coach Graham Henry welcomed the appointment of South Africa's Craig Joubert as referee for the Rugby World Cup final against France.



Joubert handled New Zealand's 20-6 semi-final win over Australia and avoided any of the controversy that has followed some of the other knockout matches.

He's the second South African to referee a World Cup final following Andre Watson.

“He's a referee who relates well to the players on the field,” Henry said. “He's very clear in his instructions and he's got a lot of composure out there.

“He's developed into one of the top referees in the world. The players enjoy playing when he's refereeing and I think that's the sign of a good ref.”

Ireland's Alain Rolland, who took charge of the 2007 final, will be an assistant referee and his decision to red card Wales captain Sam Warburton for a dangerous tip tackle in the semi-final against France was backed by the International Rugby Board.

Welshman Nigel Owens, who was criticised by Samoan players for his handling of a pool stage match against South Africa, is the other touch judge for the final.

England's Wayne Barnes will handle the third-place play-off between Australia and Wales on Friday.

International Rugby Board referees manager Paddy O'Brien said he was “delighted” with Joubert and Rolland's handling of the semi-finals and the appointments for the final were “entirely on merit.”

“We may be nearing the end of the World Cup, but our focus remains firmly on consistency and penalising the obvious,” he said.

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