Joubert at centre of sevens controversy

Craig Joubert (Getty Images)
Craig Joubert (Getty Images)

Cape Town - South African referee Craig Joubert is once again in the spotlight after failing to notice that New Zealand fielded eight players during their HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series match against Australia in Sydney at the weekend.

During the teams’ pool stage match on Saturday, it appeared as though the All Blacks Sevens side had eight players on the field as they scored a late try to level the match at 17-all.

According to Sky Sports, Joubert was the match referee and neither he, nor any of the other officials, noticed that the Kiwis fielded an extra player.

Following last Saturday’s incident in Sydney, World Rugby confirmed an investigation is underway into the lapse in officiating, but confirmed the result of the match would stand even though it was brought to their attention before Sunday's knockout stages began.

New Zealand went on to win the Sydney Sevens after scoring another stoppage-time try in the final against Australia.

As of Wednesday morning, World Rugby had given no indication of what punishment - if any - would be meted out to New Zealand.

With the match result to stand, a point deduction, fine and/or ban for coach Gordon Tietjens appears the most likely course of sanction.

Joubert copped heavy criticism during last year's Rugby World Cup when he awarded a controversial late penalty to Australia which enabled them to beat Scotland in the quarter-finals. World Rugby confirmed afterwards that Joubert had made a mistake.

Joubert also raised the ire of the Crusaders in the final of Super Rugby 2014 when he awarded the Waratahs an injury-time penalty which gave the Sydneysiders victory. Again, Joubert was forced to own up to the penalty being incorrect.

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