Skinstad leaps to Joubert's defence

Bob Skinstad (Gallo Images)
Bob Skinstad (Gallo Images)

London - Former Springbok skipper Bob Skinstad has leapt to the defence of underfire South African referee Craig Joubert.

Joubert has been in the spotlight since his decision on Sunday to award Australia a last-gasp penalty against Scotland in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final at Twickenham.

Subsequently, the sports' ruling body, World Rugby, issued a statement saying Joubert was wrong to award the offsides penalty which Wallaby No 10 Bernard Foley converted to give Australia a narrow 35-34 victory.

Joubert has faced a storms of criticism on social media since the match, with former Scotland great Gavin Hastings and ex-England scrumhalf Matt Dawson particularly scything.

Hastings said: "If I see referee Craig Joubert again, I am going to tell him how disgusted I am. It was disgraceful that he ran straight off the pitch at the end like that."

Dawson, a World Cup-winner in 2003, added on Twitter: "Craig Joubert you are a disgrace and should never referee again!!"

However, Skinstad who captained the Boks in 12 of his 42 Tests, said: "Joubert was a banker who devoted his life to rugby refereeing after the death of his father, also a top referee, said former South African captain Bobby Skinstad.

"His dad made such an impact on so many schoolkids' lives and he was bit of a legend in the KwaZulu-Natal area.

"He actually passed away from cancer and Craig had dedicated his refereeing career to the memory of his father.

"Craig is a quality individual and all the stuff around the decision has been blown out of all proportion. I'd feel really sad if any of this has got to him as a person given he has given so much to the game," he said.

Joubert has not been awarded a semi-final assignment and it remains to be seen whether he will be in action again at this year's tournament.

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