Mr Oregan Hoskins, President of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), congratulated referee Craig Joubert on his appointment to Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Final between New Zealand and France at Eden Park in Auckland.
Joubert was on Monday appointed by the International Rugby Board to officiate the seventh Rugby World Cup Final, following in the footsteps of another South African referee, André Watson, who handled the finals in 1999 (between Australia and France) and 2003 (England versus Australia).
“We are immensely proud of his appointment,” said Hoskins, “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.
“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.”
Watson, general manager of the SARU Referees, said Joubert’s appointment is just reward for his superb performances in New Zealand in the last two months, as well as his consistency at the top level since making his Test debut in 2005.
“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 Castle Tri-Nations,” said Watson.
“He also has experience of refereeing in big finals, like the Vodacom Super Rugby final in 2010, as well as the Absa Currie Cup final last year. Craig will be flying the flag on behalf of a very special group of South African referees and I know he is immensely proud of representing them all on the biggest stage in world rugby.
“This appointment is a testimony to the hard work of many people in the SA Referees’ fraternity and I would like to thank them. Credit also to Jonathan Kaplan and Shaun Veldsman, who represented South Africa with aplomb at the recent Rugby World Cup.”
Joubert said he was immensely proud to be handed the final of the Rugby World Cup, even though he would not have minded being in the stands willing the Springboks on to successfully defend their title.
“That was not to be, and like any Springbok supporter, it’s disappointing that they are not in the final, 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,” said Joubert.
“I’m really privileged and proud. My late father got me into refereeing and I can’t help but think how proud he would have been. It was an emotional moment and the pinnacle of my career to be appointed to referee the Final.
“It’s a huge moment for any rugby player, to play in a Rugby World Cup Final, as they build to this for four years, but so do we as referees. It’s been a privilege to referee at this tournament and this appointment is really the cherry on top. I’d like to thank everyone that has been part of my career and that have helped me along the way.”
Speaking about his preparation for Sunday’s Final, Joubert said that he won’t be doing anything different than before.
“Yes, it is a Rugby World Cup Final, but my preparation will be the same as for any other game in my career. It’s a big occasion big, but I will have to concentrate on carrying on doing what I’ve been doing and to be consistent. My approach won’t change,” he explained.