Watson gives Joubert credit

2011-10-17 13:12

The only other South African to have achieved the feat, Andre Watson, congratulated referee Craig Joubert today after he was selected to take charge of the Rugby World Cup final in Auckland.

Watson, general manager of the SA Rugby Union’s (Saru) referees division, said Joubert’s appointment was just reward for his superb performances in New Zealand in the past two months.

“Craig has been rated one of the top referees in world rugby for the last few seasons, which was evident when one looked at his appointments in competitions like the Six Nations and the Tri-Nations,” said Watson.

“He also has experience of refereeing in big finals, like the Super Rugby final in 2010, as well as the Currie Cup final last year.”

Watson, who blew the 1999 and 2003 World Cup finals, also tipped his hat to South Africa’s two other match officials at the global showpiece.

“Credit also to Jonathan Kaplan and Shaun Veldsman, who represented South Africa with aplomb,” he said.

Saru president Oregan Hoskins said the national rugby body was proud of the referees who had worked in New Zealand.

“Craig and Jonathan Kaplan have flown the South African flag high amongst the match referees at the Rugby World Cup and to have Craig appointed to the final is testimony to the excellent work done by Saru’s referees department,” Hoskins said.

“Obviously we would have liked to see the Springboks in the final, but to have a South African involved in the final for a fifth successive time is significant.

“At every tournament since we first participated in the Rugby World Cup in 1995, South African rugby has provided either one of the finalists or the match referee.”

While Joubert said he was proud to be handed the final match between hosts New Zealand and underdogs France, he would not have minded being in the stands, watching the Springboks in action.

“That was not to be, and like any Springbok supporter, it’s disappointing that they are not in the final,” Joubert said.

“But now I have the opportunity to fly the South African flag in the absence of our beloved Boks and I hope to make my country proud.”

Joubert said he would not change his approach to the job, despite the magnitude of the match.

“Yes, it is a Rugby World Cup final, but my preparation will be the same as for any other game in my career,” he said.

“It’s a big occasion, but I will have to concentrate and carry on doing what I’ve been doing, and be consistent.”

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