PMB’s Joubert to ref rugby final

2013-07-30 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s leading referee, Pietermaritzburg born-and-bred Craig Joubert, will take charge of the Super Rugby final between the Chiefs and Brumbies in Hamilton on Saturday.

Joubert took heavy flak for the way he policed the scrum during Saturday’s semi-final between the Bulls and Brumbies at Loftus and he was particularly harsh in penalising the home team for their illegal binding.

But Sanzar officials are clearly happy with his interpretation and yesterday announced that the 35-year-old South African would take charge of the final, which kicks off in Hamilton at 9.35 am (SA time) on Saturday.

Joubert refereed the 2011 Rugby World Cup final and also handled the second Test between the touring British Lions and Australia recently.

The Brumbies have travelled home after upsetting the Bulls 26-23 at Loftus to advance to the final and coach Jake White believes they can again defy the odds in beating the Chiefs on Saturday.

But they will bump the champion Chiefs who are buoyant after upsetting the fancied Crusaders at the weekend.

“Belief in something is a wonderful thing,” White said.

“I repeatedly said it last week. People follow sports teams because they want to be there the day that history is made.

“People go to world cups to say they were there when it happened. People follow golf tournaments to say they were there when Louis Oosthuizen won the Open.

“Yes, nobody has won Super Rugby by travelling back and forth over the world.

“But who knows? Maybe it’s another challenge that the guys will take with both hands,” said White.

He said that key to a Brumbies win would be the players’ resilience.

“The most important thing is to mentally and physically recover as quickly as possible.

“We just have to believe we can do it,” said White.

And, while debate continued over the Bulls’ decisions in the semi-final, captain Dewald Potgieter said he would play it the same way if he had his time again.

Potgieter has been roundly criticised for ignoring three easy penalties in favour of kicking for field position in the closing 10 minutes when the Bulls led 20-19.

His one regret, he said, is that he did not stay with the tactic, keeping the Brumbies in their own half when a fourth penalty was awarded.

“We actually managed to keep the Brumbies in their own quarter for 10 minutes, and the only thing I maybe regret is actually going for poles with four minutes to go.

“If you make the decision to keep them in their half I should have backed the call,” Potgieter said.

Instead, Morné Steyn booted the penalty (23-19) but the Brumbies kicked off, attacked and scored the winning try in the closing moments of the game.

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