Bok fans worry as Poite takes charge in Cardiff

Romain Poite (Gallo)
Romain Poite (Gallo)

Cape Town - Following the retirement of New Zealand's Bryce Lawrence, every Springbok fan's new least-favourite referee became France's Romain Poite ... and he's back!

Poite will be the man in charge at the Principality Stadium on Saturday when Wales host the Springboks in their final Test of the year.

Kick-off is at 19:30 (SA time).

Despite the vast majority of Springbok fans being infuriated by his officiating in the past, the national side boast a 50/50 record with Poite in charge, having won 3 and lost 3 of the six Tests the 41-year-old has taken charge of.

Poite will be assisted by a trio of little-known Englishmen, with Greg Garner and Tom Foley fulfilling assistant referee duties, while Graham Hughes will handle TMO matters.

Poite angered Springboks fans when he showed hooker Bismarck du Plessis two yellow cards - and a subsequent red card - for, firstly, a tackle on All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter and then an elbow-charge against flank Liam Messam during their 2013 Rugby Championship clash at Eden Park in Auckland.

The All Blacks went on to win the game 29-15 - a result which led to heavy criticism against the Frenchman, so much so that the International Rugby Board (IRB) as they were known at the time issued a statement admitting Poite had erred.

The hatred from fans towards Poite was so bad that a Facebook page - which reached over 60 000 followers - was created to stop him from ever refereeing again.

Poite would later admit to his error and be suspended for several months from refereeing, while the red card was struck from Du Plessis' record.

Here's hoping for a controversy-free Test on Saturday!

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