Craig Joubert revealed to the Telegraph why he ran off the pitch during the Rugby World Cup
His last minute decision proved costly for Scotland as Australia edged through to the semi-final
The referee revealed he was trying to avoid confrontation that would mar the occasion
Craig Joubert has revealed to the Telegraph the reasons behind his unforgettable quick exit from the pitch during the Rugby World Cup quarter-final.
The referee became public enemy No 1 in Scotland during the Rugby World Cup after he wrongly awarded Australia what proved to be a winning penalty in the dying seconds of the quarter-final.
World Rugby later announced Joubert had made the wrong decision and should have awarded a scrum, but it was the 38-year-old’s decision to depart the scene after blowing the final whistle which angered many.
“In my head was a desire to avoid any possible unseemly confrontation that would mar what had been a wonderful occasion,” Joubert said.
“I had it in my mind somewhere that there had been an incident between the official and the England coaches [Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree, for which they were later fined] in their match against Australia and I just didn’t want any of that to happen, not because I don’t understand the emotions of the moment for players and coaches, their desire for answers to questions, but just because I did not want that to become another possible incident.
“That was my thinking, not for myself but for the situation.”
He has since built bridges with Scotland coach Vern Cotter and scrum-half Greig Laidlaw.
Cotter had rung him shortly after the quarter-final to tell him he understood the complexities of what had happened and they met again during the Six Nations when Joubert ran the line as Ireland played Scotland in Dublin.
“I had a coffee with Vern before the game and a beer with Greig afterwards. They were very natural and typical interactions which I enjoyed,” said Joubert.