EXCLUSIVE: World ref boss says Joubert was wrong

EXCLUSIVE: World ref boss says Joubert was wrong

EXCLUSIVE: World ref boss says Joubert was wrong
Photo courtesy of Tim Anger

Joubert overturns Owens in Melbourne – Photo courtesy of Tim Anger

Were you perplexed by some of the astounding decisions Craig Joubert made when refereeing the Wallabies against England in Melbourne last weekend? Turns out World Rugby agrees.

Since Alain Rolland took over as head of World Rugby reffing, he’s started a new system whereby he send out clarifications of contentious calls in the previous week’s internationals.

For this week, three major points.

One, Rolland said Moore’s action in the first half melee was no worse than the original offence by England, and so the penalty shoudl not have been reversed.

Two, Rolland said Foley running back for the kick performed no material obstruction on Farrell and there should not have been a penalty.

Finally, right on half time, Rolland said although the advantage was long, Australia had not gained any advantage and it should have come back for a penalty. (It’s worth noting that Joubert had just warned England five minutes earlier about penalties on their goalline, so it’s likely/very likely there’d also have been a yellow if he’d had to blow the play up.)

So what

Did these change the game? In truth we’ll never know. But in theory if Joubert hadn’t made his clangers there would have been six more points to Aus and three fewer to England…or instead of Aus being 6 behind with 30 to go, they are 3 ahead. And this doesn’t even take into account England being down to 14 men for the first ten minutes of the second half.

I’d say most (including myself) believe this didn’t lose the match for Australia, it was more what they didn’t do in their attack as pointed out in this great article by Graeme Forbes.

Michael Cheika and Stephen Moore at the post-match press conference

Michael Cheika and Stephen Moore at the post-match press conference

It does, however, re-highlight a part of the game that the Wallabies are woefully deficient at – referee management, as discussed in our latest podcast below. Australia repeatedly get themselves into a position where they are an adversary to the referee. How many times did you hear Joubert ask the Wallabies to stop shouting at him throughout the match? Moore – aiming to inject abrasiveness into his team’s performance, let that spill over into his dealing with the most influential man on the field. There is no upside to this approach.

Remember a certain world cup final last year when Nigel Owens refused to even talk to the Wallaby captain whilst having cosy fireside chats with Sir Richie? That’s right he’s the ref this weekend. The Wallabies need to address this matter, urgently.

  • Duncher

    Awe man. .. I thought we were the good guys

  • Tim

    If a yellow card was given i think it would have opened the flood gates, but in saying that i guess we will never know

    • Pedro

      Especially as we could’ve tapped again and played against 14 men for five minutes (past 40) and still played against 14 for the first ten minutes of the second half. It’s a bad time to get a yellow.

      But yeah, it’s history now.

      • Ben Dickinson

        Love your thinking, although minutes in the sin bin include extra time after the siren sounds, so if they got a yellow card at 41:00 and we played on until 46:00 their player would only have 5 minutes remaining in the bin in the second half.

        • Pedro

          I’ll take your word for it although I’ve never seen a player sin binned in the 71st minute return play after 81minutes.

        • Ben Dickinson

          Perhaps that’s because in order to return to the field, there needs to be a stoppage in play (a lineout or scrum), and up until this year, a lineout or scrum occuring in the 81st minute would result in the end of the game.

        • Pedro

          Ok so the worst time to get a yellow is any time after the 70th minute, my bad.

  • Seb V

    I like this new system, holding ref’s accountable for their decisions, not that I think they should be held accountable for the result of the game, they never should. But it certainly encourages them to learn from their mistakes and to make decisions as refs in future games.

    • John Tynan

      I like the distinction between decisions and game. Nicely put.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Look it is great to get that feedback to the umpires, and yes most of us Aussie supporters would be cheering it. But we didnt deserve to win last week or the week before. The Wallabies should be dominating the game and take the result out of the referee’s hands!

    • Pretty certain he said that.

  • Dud Roodt

    I honestly don’t think Moore should be captain. Your captain (in my opinion) has to be at least likely to play 80 mins of footy week in week out.
    Now we find ourselves in the position of having a deficient captain who is also woefully low on form. But we can’t drop him because you don’t drop your captain.

    • onlinesideline

      I dont think he is really captn material, but woefully low on form ? – bit of a strech mate.
      maybe as captn but as a player hes pretty good.

      • I think his form is fine but his Captaining is the wrong style.

  • joe_87

    really? a post about the referee?

    • Perhaps you could leave us a list of what shouldn’t be published in rugby?

  • brumby runner

    Glad to see the new arrangements in place. Too long referees have been protected from their errors.

    Most interesting comment to me is that Moore’s offence was no worse than the initial England offence. Does this mean that retaliation is no longer the automatic offence to be penalised?

  • MM

    How about the impact on moral within the team. Yeah I know, they should be beyond that but the decisions were so obviously ( in my view anyway) clangers that you begin to think “are we going to get a break here”. Especially when the break goes completely the other way. Robeshaw looked like he was going to tear Phipp’s head off its shoulders – that is a head high tackle, but the poms seem immune to being penalised for those, remember the world cup pool match, the one where we beat them and they got knocked out of their own tournament – Farrelly’s shoulder charge and at the same time Burgess’s coat hanger on Hooper. Bother were yellow card offenses. They have targeted Phipps heavily and clearly he’s rattled – good tactics, but keep it legal.

  • Cyclops2

    “Remember a certain world cup final last year when Nigel Owens refused to even talk to the Wallaby captain whilst having cosy fireside chats with Sir Richie?”

    You poor sad schmuck. Would that be the same Nigel Owens that allowed Kepu to remain on the field despite multiple acts of foul play? The same bloke who yellow carded Ben Smith?

    I want to know if World Rugby went back and commented on the Joubert howler that gifted the Waratahs a Super Rugby title. Oh look over there—–> A Scotsman has put his hand up and muttered something about a RWC quarter final.

    • Funk

      I think its the same Joubert that flatly refused to penalise the aigs in the final 20 – 30mins of the 2011 WC final…did World Rugby look back over that?

      • Grant NZ

        How did Trinh-Duc manage to have a kick at goal in the 65th minute then?

      • Funk

        I wish it was this easy when I am out on the boat!!!

        • Grant NZ

          Ah the old “I was trolling” when claim turns out to be BS. An old standard.
          Doesn’t reflect any better on you though, is it better to be wrong or to be a twat?

        • Funk

          Oh Grant calm down matey, I’m assuming you have been here before, it is fairly lighthearted with a fair amount of tongue in cheek, which is exactly what my comment was. Although there is always someone who takes things far too seriously.

    • Qwas

      His comment was about ref management by Hooper, not the decisions made. Hooper was clearly badgering the ref which was poor captaincy. Why so defensive?

    • The point of the bit you quoted is more that the Wallabies are very poor at referee management, and McCaw was always very good at it. Read the context – it’s not a criticism of the All Blacks, rather the other way around. If they can’t get on with other refs with all their shouting at them (which is a bad look all round) then Owens will give them short shrift. Moore needs to silence the dogs.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Let it go mate, everyone knows mistakes get made by the referee’s the article is only pointing out where Roland thought Joubert made some last week.

      • Cyclops2

        No it isn’t. It is an idiotic attempt to suggest some captains can manipulate referees when it is plainly obvious they can’t. I gave examples of how these “cosy fireside chats” made no difference–in fact the teams “Sir Richie” played for received the shitty end of the stick.

        The writer of this dopey article also seems to have forgotten, as I pointed out, Australia has had very favourable treatment from the same referee this clown is trying to castigate. Perhaps he puts Australia’s fortuitous escape in the Scotland game down to superior referee management? Like you, I think errors will be made and no amount of fireside chatting will make a blind bit of difference.

        As for Rolland making a critique of Joubert–hilarious. Rolland was one of the most error prone referees in modern history.

        • You really should read the article in context. Hardly castigating the ref (Joubert), just reporting what Rolland has said. Then mainly focussed on the deficiencies the Wallabies have in this area. And of course some captains “manipulate” referees, if you want to use that term, simply by being better at communicating with them, knowing when to push their point and knowing when to shut up. If you really think the better captains don’t do this, you’re deluded. Refs are human – if you treat them respectfully they’ll probably do the same back. It’s smart. As I said, McCaw was one of the best at handling refs. It’s a compliment, not a reason to get chippy.

        • moaning expat

          Why are you trying to argue with this clown? Clearly no idea about anything. Context, subject , viewpoint , nothing. The wallabies have been getting the short of the ref stick for years and the point is its probably the wobbles fault.
          Poor ref management.

        • DrewB

          I know Matt’s a big boy, but don’t play the man – comment on the article.

        • first time long time

          I say let Wayne Barnes ref every game of test rugby!

    • Clearly the ‘someone referenced/Richie McCaw or the All Blacks without laying homage to them’ alarm was set off in a number of basements across the ditch.

      The importance of referee management by teams and captains is well recognised by everyone it would seem other than those in your mum’s basement. The reason it’s seen as important is that at the end of the day Refs are human too – they make mistakes and will be influenced by the way people interact with them.

      • Cyclops2

        You made the ludicrous assertion that a favorable outcome can be obtained by good referee management. Yet you cannot come up with a single bit of evidence to support this. And what floats around in your tiny mind isn’t evidence. You try to use McCaw as an example of a good manager of referees, yet the teams he captained have been on the receiving end of shocking decisions–including the very test you referred to. Just how thick are you?

        ” in your mum’s basement.”
        Proof that you a loathsome tosser.

        • DrewB

          I think many of us see the coloration between positive referee outcomes and good referee management as clear and obvious (deliberate use of ref-speak) we haven’t thought to ask for evidence.

          But if you want some, this article is a good start. Richie managed to concede more penalties than most, but avoided being carded quite well. He was widely regarded as having good referee management skills.


        • Who?

          Good referee management is a massive part of captaincy. It’s something my junior team has struggled with this year.
          I had an excellent young referee tell me after our last game that the ref can only ref what he sees, and if he can’t see something, the captain needs to raise it with him.
          This isn’t about who cheats best, it’s about winning the ref’s attention on the items that the captain believes will benefit his team. Every team constantly infringes. This isn’t by choice, it’s the nature of the game. There’s always someone offside, someone needing to roll away, someone needing to release a ball/player. So if your team is dealing with a hard-pilfering opposition who release the tackled player well but are sloppy with their entry angles (gate) you’d be trying to guide the ref to watch the entry more, where perhaps he’s watched the tackler releasing (which might not need as much policing). The reality is that refs only have so much time, and there’s a huge amount happening at every breakdown. Getting him to focus where it will best benefit you is a big task, and a key goal for winning the 50/50 calls.
          When captains don’t communicate their teams’ feelings well, when the players don’t feel heard and represented by their captain, they all invariably – even the best behaved and most mild mannered of them – start yapping at the ref. Have we seen that before..? In the Wallabies..? Certainly never saw it with Richie captaining the ABs…

        • Mica

          This is a great comment and really gets to the heart of the whole referee management discussion.
          Please forward to Steve, Michael and Rob……. :)

        • Who?

          You know the scariest thing about it? The young ref in question? He was 15. :-O
          Very clever young man…

      • Funk

        Has anybody checked whether there is a full moon tonight?

    • Xaviera

      Plenty of chat here about the relationship between referees and captains. Is it material? Have a read of this article, which in the context, seems as relevant as ever.


  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Good to see some closure on this even though it doesn’t have an affect on the result. I think reporting on the referee’s performance is a good idea and can only help referees get better although I hope it doesn’t end up making them scared to make a decision because they’ll be worried bout what will be said later. I know this next bit won’t be popular but in actual fact Rolland is incorrect in saying the rulings were wrong, he can only say he didn’t agree and believes that the law could have been applied differently. Law 6.A.4 (a) states that “the referee is the sole judge of fact and law during a match” so it is Joubert’s decision that is correct not Roland’s interpretation. However, in saying that all referees will make mistakes, just as players do, and these sort of reviews will help the referees get better.

  • ForceFan

    Welcome to “Western Force World”.
    This is the type of inept refereeing that is dished out to the lower teams by the “Learner” or less-skilled Referees week-in, week-out.

    Often hard to know if the inconsistent decision making costs the game but it sure kills momentum at critical stages in matches.
    The Western Force has had similar confessions regularly from SANZAAR’s Game Manager Lyndon Bray which have cost the Force disallowed tries — i.e. more than just penalties or could be situations (2 tries against the Blues).

    I still struggle to understand the total lack of consistency in handling the around-the-neck/head wrenching of players.
    I s’pose we’ll just have to wait for some more serious injuries and maybe SANZAAR will follow-up on World Rugby’s priorities.

  • Brendan Hume

    Two of the three were shit decisions. I can understand not giving the penalty at the end of the first half because so much time elapsed until play was ended, but it was a costly lapse in concentration for the Wallabies. The Moore decision was probably fair – it was fucking dumb for him to leave his feet into that mess. The Foley decision was fucking mind bending though – he had time (play had stopped, vision was available and an assistant and TMO were available) – and I though he made a horrible call. For mine Foley was getting into position to support the receiver as a pass option. I didn’t see him turn his head or adjust his line deliberately into Farrell, and he certainly didn’t check Farrell’s run beyond Farrell reaching out and knocking him over….

    All said though, I’m not sure this sort of thing needs to be public. Everyone should know refs make incorrect calls – Rugby as a game is barely controlled chaos. Sure, provide feedback to refs, but publicly outing individual calls seems to me a chance to undermine the referee’s authority.

    • Unanimous

      I agree with all of this. Review the game, and provide the feedback to the ref only.

      • Unanimous

        Now that I read below, it was intended only for the referee, but Matt has decided these things should be public, or perhaps public only when the reports support Matt’s team, or has he got something in for Joubert.

        Matt, was the report negative entirely, or have you selected only the negative things to libelise Joubert?

        • Tibor

          Are you always this annoying? What’s with the pro-censorship angle?

        • Unanimous

          What censorship angle? I’m asking what else is in the report. How is that censorship?

          There are issues with Matt doing this.. Perhaps you’d like someone choosing the three most negative things in your annual work performance report and publishing only those. Asking about those issues isn’t censorship, it’s trying to understand what is going on.

  • Grant NZ

    So, I expect to hear the same sort of condemnation for ‘throwing Joubert under the bus’ that we heard last year. Or indeed something similar to the sort of talk about how POB should have resigned for publicly criticising Stu Dickinson?

    • first time long time

      Lets not get started on NZ’s treatment of Wayne Barnes now!
      I think there is a facebook hate page with 4 million followers!

      • Grant NZ

        Probably worth noting that POB actually backed Barnes on that one.

        Regardless it appears this is not a public statement from Rolland or World Rugby, rather than G&GR has been leaked an e-mail or some such so I’ll retract my original post.

  • Grant NZ

    Incidentally – when you say ‘exclusive’ did Rolland actually give an exclusive interview to G&GR? It seems so, cause I can’t find any other evidence of a statement. If so, you should probably put his actual quotes up rather than summarising them.

    • Grant NZ

      And I’d have to say, point 2 seems bizarre. That was pretty clear and obvious obstruction for me.

    • It’s an exclusive story as we’re the only publisher with the information

      • Grant NZ

        How did you come by this info though? Ie, who is it sent out to?
        And again, if you’re representing his statements you should probably put some direct quotes in.

        • Brisneyland Local

          It wouldnt be an exclusive if he reveals his source. that is journalism 101!

        • A80

          It came from a source identified only as Chichael Meika …

        • adastra32

          He’s the new Wallabies attack coach. No relation.

      • A80

        Its a great scoop. In the Aviva Premiership we had something a bit similar where Dean Ryan one of our club DoRs publicly shared the information given to him in the match report that the refs compile afterwards that Worcester were one of (it may even have been the) most incorrectly penalised team in the league. Although it was considered poor form to break that confidentiality I could understand his frustration. What I would be interested in with the copy you have seen is if Rolland had issue with any of the penalties awarded against England. Or put more bluntly are you painting a very one sided image to suit your own narrative or are those the only things Rolland referenced? Would be interested to know.

  • Richard

    The story quite correctly raises a whole set of issues Matt.

    1. Yep – Joubert made some decisions that upon further review were possibly incorrect. Ever seen a referee deliver a mistake free performance, especially in a highly charged match such as Saturday night? Don’t the really good sides though take the referee out of the contest and let their performance dictate the outcome?

    2. Why did Moore react when he knew the Wallabies had already been awarded a penalty? We all know the player who retaliates is always at greater risk than any original offender. Been in the game for as long as we all have followed it!

    3. What does it tell us about the overall standards / culture within this Wallaby side that the referee has to stop the game to address the captain about “15 guys yelling at him”? Ever see the real quality champion teams confront issues like that? I do see plenty of unruly sides though who think emotion and aggression trump intelligence and discipline as the pathway to sustainable success.

    Cheika referenced humility this week in the way the Wallabies deal with victory and defeat. Really? I don’t see it. I wonder if neither Poite in Brisbane, Joubert on Saturday or Owens at Twickenham in the RWC final did either. Why is there so much spite in this England vs Wallabies series? Why is it so absent in both the NZ vs Wales and SA vs Ireland test matches (ignore the Irish red card!)? Is it because the Wallaby head coach promotes an aggressive, abrasive, physical, don’t take a backward step approach? The same coach who keeps losing off-field mind games, and on-field penalty counts. Feels to me like the supposed changes to the culture within the Wallabies still has a way to go.

    • MM

      Hang on mate – its Jones who talks “bodyline”. I thought the Wallabies were served up an awful lot of unpunished and mostly off the ball niggle in the first test, that to their credit they ignored. Clearly they’d decided “enough, not in this test”. It seems its OK for the poms to niggle and go “bodyline”. Note who was doing all the bleeding.

      • LoveThePoop

        Spot on

      • Richard

        Jones engaged in it mate because he knew Cheika would react to it. Jones poked the bear off the field and the bear reacted on the field. What’s the rule about the retaliator versus the instigator and cool heads versus emotional thinking?

      • first time long time

        I think its great that they stood their ground more in that second test but a bit like our attack they were dumb about it.
        There is plenty of shit you can do that will get under an opponents skin with out being a blatant penalty offence.

        • Who?

          Exactly. It says a lot that the first lineout, we gave away a penalty for shoving a bloke. That was just stupid…

    • JJJ

      I dunno, it seemed that Joubert was more responsible for the breakdown of communication that Moore was. He’d clearly had a gutful of Moore and the wallabies very early on in the match for whatever reason. It’s not even like Moore argued the penalty reversal. I remember at the time being impressed that Moore took an obviously wrong decision quietly on the chin.

      It seemed to me Joubert was carrying some baggage into this test, unless there was some very nasty stuff said to him that the mic didn’t pick up. Maybe he felt he was gamed in the Scotland match, I dunno.

      • Timll.

        I agree, there is a place for a review call by a captain if he feels unduly refereed.

      • Joy

        Carrying baggage, he sure was. He was making up to Scotland. It’s so painfully obvious. I think they call it doubling down.

  • ted

    as much as I love screaming at the tv for a poor ref decision, I completely disagree with this sort of public review. Rugby is based on respect of the ref, yes it is professional and they are accountable for their decision, but the accountability should be behind closed doors and reflected with appointments to games.
    You did not see ARU call out Fardy for dropped balls?

    • It wasn’t a public review

      • CMJS

        You’re publishing it here, no?

        • It’s what’s known as a scoop

        • CMJS

          So you’ve effectively made it a public review, then…

        • A finding that’s private and leaked is very different from a finding that’s public. It was not World Rugby’s intention for this to be public (although it wasn’t exactly kept to a limited distribution)

          As for our decision to publish it – we believe it’s really informative for all who watched that match to understand whether their interpretations of the laws were off-beam versus Joubert’s (recognised as one of the best refs around). On top of that it’s a great story – which is what we do.

        • CMJS

          Thats nice. That wasnt the original point – that the poster didn’t think it was good to publicly pick apart referees

        • ozrugbynut

          Dont care about comments but Owen Joubert, poite and even Kaplan before them just always crapped on the wallabies. Apart from the call against Scotland last year we seems always to have been fucked by this group. Wayne Barnes was a fk too. Over it.

        • CMJS

          I feel you on that; Given how often every other rugby nation cheers against England, what makes you think the referees don’t hate us at least as much? At least that’s what it always feels like. Witness Nigel Owens call against Farrell last week that ended up getting reversed – just 1 more Welshman trying to screw the English! ;)

      • I think it’s good to get the follow-up on the refs calls from the head ref. It should help level out the differences in refereeing from one game to the next. FWIW, I don’t blame the ref for the loss – Australia got run over by a rampant England. Simple.

    • Spank

      Disagree! It’s about time the referees are called into line. Professional game let’s have the referees mesure up.
      I am especially pleased to see the formal comments above albeit they won’t change the result. For once, Australia got the benefit of one bad call in our favour at the last World Cup and it was like the end of the world. When it goes the other way, we are told to grin and bear it as the referee is just a nice bloke trying hard.

      • Unanimous

        Matt has probably selected which parts of the report to publisise so as to make a story that Aussie readers will read. There may well have been mistakes in England’s favour, but we don’t know.

        • gladstonekinnoul

          He certainly could reffed the scrum…and line out

  • Keith Butler

    Alain Rolland what a great referee he was?

    • mikado

      No great lover of the English, as I recall.

  • LoveThePoop

    Outstanding to see that something is being done to keep the officials accountable… Jobert is surely under pressure, so many of his games end in controversy because of his decisions… I know he wants to ref at the Olympics but you’d hate to see him cost a team a medal… Great podcast guys!! You are on the money about how we manage the ref. I think Moore is an excellent leader and as fans we should be very thankful he had the guts to stand up a couple years ago and say the off field behaviour was not good enough… However, he comes across as abit condescending to the refs and they clearly don’t like it… The wallaby captain has to be pocock or hooper. They are the first 2 players picked. Pocock is probably a future Australian of the year and the Aru should be putting him up on a pedalstool and saying he is the kinda of person that represents our game and hooper is also an excellent role model whom clearly has the respect of the players but also you rarely see him complain to the ref and he is always pulling teammates away when they are upset with a decision… From what I’ve seen both are good at making tactical decisions and both are excellent and keeping their heads under pressure

  • DrewB

    I’m surprised at many peoples surprise there is in depth referee performance review. These guys get heavily scrutinised after every match, and have for a very long time, we just don’t see it. We also don’t see exactly what the coach has said to each player, what errors the coach has picked up he made and what he has to work on for next week.

  • gel

    It is not Moore that gets the ref offside – it is Phipps. He is constantly disrespectful. He is the one repeatedly getting the referees offside.

    • Red Rocker

      You mean the guy who is there not because he is skilled enough to be a test halfback – but because there are zero other halfbacks in Australia remotely close to playing at that level?

      • first time long time

        Well this week is as good a time as any to start Frisby. The way Phipps is playing I don’t see any down side to giving him a crack

    • Keith Butler

      I don’t know of one SH that’s not a lippy little git and that applies to all countries. They all like to gob off endlessly.

      • A80

        Agree. Its pretty much the first line in the job description.

      • Patrick

        Gregan did it well though

        • gladstonekinnoul

          4 more years lads has to be the best one liner ever !

  • first time long time

    Just checking, I thought neck rolls were a yellow card offence and punishable by weeks on the sideline as with David Pocock earlier in the year.
    Yet I heard Joubert who refs in SR all the time say it was just a penalty (and it was a nasty one on the weekend on Phipps and he did one on Pocock in game 1)
    Why hasn’t Robshaw been cited for this and suspended? What am I missing?

    • Grant NZ

      Apparently you’ve missed all the other neck rolls that didn’t cop suspensions. It’s never been a mandatory citing or even a mandatory card.
      You’ve also missed the fact that Pocock’s was considerably worse.

      • first tiem long time

        I know they are not all going to get binned and suspended but these were blatant and seen yet no action taken. What is the proper ruling here?

        High Tackles and Neck contact – Law 10.4(e)

        Every time the head or the neck is deliberately grabbed or choked, the offending player runs the risk of receiving a yellow or red card

        Cleanouts around the neck must be penalised

        I would have thought both of Robshaws offences met criteria for yellow card.
        This isn’t a Joubert rant or sour grapes I just hate the inconsistency.

        • Grant NZ

          The risk yes. Just as every time a player tackles high, they run the risk.

          Joubert looked at it, said penalty only and then penalised the retaliation.
          I don’t actually agree with that, I think the neck roll was worse than the retaliation so would have played that. But it’s an error of judgement, not law, if you catch my drift.

          Pocock’s was far worse though, he applied a choke hold and held on to it on the ground.

        • first time long time

          Do you mean the one on Pocock the other week or the one Pocock got suspended for?

        • Grant NZ

          The one he got suspended for.

        • first time long time

          Ok, can’t say I’ve watched it recently to compare but the Phipps one was nasty and he was put in a dangerous position going to ground because of it.
          When I saw it I thought he would get some time for it.

        • A80

          What about Phipps “tackle” on Youngs in the same incident? around the neck too.

    • Jacko

      Maybe they are a yellow card offence. So why then did captain Moore climb in and obstruct what should have been a simple decision for the referee and TMO? I guess Cheika would rule that as taking a step backwards.

    • A80

      It wasn’t a neck roll as much as being pulled by the neck not that that is better. Lots of Auz supporters seem to have missed that Phipps was doing an almost identical thing to Youngs at the time that Robshaw latched on.

  • first time long time

    Why is there no review into the amount of off side at rucks and mauls in every game by every team that goes unpenalised, esp when there are 4 refs involved in each game.
    It is so bad that even the commentators joke about it on the rare occasion it is penalised (I think once last weekend).
    It seems like any easy fix and would open games up a lot more.

    • Unanimous

      There is. Matt just chose not to report it.

  • CMJS

    Good to see GAGR trying to piss World Rugby off for the sake of short term gratification (we waz robbed!) by leaking what was presumably a private review. All the refs will love you guys I’m sure.

    • A80

      Also no mention of if those were the only things Rolland highlighted or if there were English penalties he saw differently. I asked on the podcast thread and got no reply which I am guessing means he did.

    • Just checking the give-a-fuck-ometer on that one.

      Nope, no reading.

      • CMJS

        Summing up your own level of professionalism nicely

      • gladstonekinnoul

        Got to work both ways if you want credibility!

  • First time long time

    Granted although there were some decisions I didn’t agree with but what was the go with the TMO who didn’t offer any real opinion on penalties or otherwise he just put the images on the big screen.
    Seems like a soft option on his behalf

  • Dan Cottrell

    I think we should take the view that the referee makes the most decisions which matter on the pitch. If he got 100% right, that would be brilliant. If he got 80% right, but the balance of advantage was about even, that might be deemed okay.

    Joubert (or indeed Owens) is not biased. They are human.

    Players make less decisions in the same highly competitive environment, and it’s rare that a player gets them a 100% right either.

    We have an imperfect game and everyone is trying to improve.

    The referee feedback is an important part of the process of improvement. To make it public is brave and perhaps counterproductive.

    Also, some decisions are the consequence of other decisions made earlier down the line. One might argue that the pre-half time “advantage” may not have happened if the Vunipola kick out was deemed on the hooter or not. I’m not saying that wasn’t the right call, but imagine if a try had been scored, would we be debating that too?

    In summary, we’ve got to suck it up when a poor call comes into the game and hope, over time, that they balance out. In the meantime, everyone should aim to get better at their game.

  • adastra32

    Get over yourself. Time to move on.

  • m0b1us

    I doubt Owens will be looking to do England any favours; if you recall it was he who called into question the possible foul
    play by Farrell. I reckon it would have just been ‘play on’ without that intervention.

    Probably better for you guys to just put that game and whatever referring decisions occurred behind you. Everyone
    gets touched up that way now and again – you’re beginning to sound like NZ fans! ;-)

  • RobC

    Thanks Matt. Good one

    Still getting used to this post match review by the Ref boss. But I like it

    I believe its as what you and Hugh mentioned in the podcast earlier. WBs dissed the Ref, and that was end of that.

  • Who?

    I’ll start this by yet again saying I’m not a huge Joubert fan. I don’t mind Owen – when he’s not in headmaster mode (which happens too often), I like Wayne Barnes. I appreciated the way Steve Walsh ran a game. I like a ref who talks a lot. Though I do appreciate Joubert’s consistency, his preference for players to roll away (how many times do you hear, “You shouldn’t have put yourself there to start with”).

    The three decisions? I think Joubert could’ve gone to a card for Haskell in the first one. But the penalty should’ve been against Moore. Escalating. That said, I think he should’ve blown his whistle again, before Haskell dumped Phipps on his head. It wasn’t a lifting tackle, it wasn’t a neck roll, but it was a high tackle, and he contacted the ground head first (due to the melee around him). And it was clearly after the whistle had first blown.

    With that in mind, you could argue that Moore didn’t escalate it – the tackle shouldn’t ever have continued after the whistle was blown. Which raises the question, did he blow it hard enough? So, for mine, fair call on Moore, light call on Haskell for foul play, improvement needed in game management. And well done to Owens for pointing out Haskell’s foul play.

    The Foley obstruction? Again, Owens looking out for Australia, but he clearly got it wrong. I had no issue with the decision. Foley didn’t change his line, but he deliberately chose a blocking line. If it’d gone unnoticed, fine, but if we had to make a call on it, then that’s a better call than penalty Australia. It could’ve been scrum to England back where the kick was received, but I genuinely had no issue. They’ve been trying to go hard on that sort of obstruction for a few years now.

    And the no penalty at half time? I had a problem with that. For mine, advantage needs to be clarified. Advantage doesn’t mean you get guaranteed points. That’s not the spirit of the law. It means you get a chance to have a go with a safety net. But how big should that safety net be? If you give away a penalty and play can’t continue, the recipients get the penalty straight away. That’s annoying. If play can continue, and they can have 10 phases hammering away on your line, THEN they get the kick… That’s effectively double jeopardy. It’s unfair.

    For mine, advantage should be codified. 10m of territory within 3 phases, if not, blow it up! For mine, Joubert should’ve blown it when we travelled all the way to the right hand touch line, lost 20m, and had to regroup. At that point, he should’ve blown it up and given the captain the choice of the tap or the shot. But advantage is an issue across all refs, and I don’t think Joubert should be any more highly critiqued about it than anyone else. Though I realize this document wasn’t meant to go public.

    So, all in all, I can think of worse things… I was more annoyed about the penalty awarded to Robshaw (I think?) around 54 minutes for us not releasing when Robshaw’s body position was one that was never supporting his own weight.

    • A80

      Just re the first incident I think you mean Robshaw on Phipps rather than Haskell unless I missed that bit. Agree about the idea of codifying advantage thats a great call.

      • Who?

        You might well be right. :-)

  • Bell Tower

    In the first two matches the Wallabies were at the wrong end of the 50-50 calls.

    Wallabies always seem to irritate Nigel Owens.

    Obviously not too much thought goes into referee management. This is something that needs to be rectified ASAP.

    • Tim Wilson

      Evidence suggests the Wallabies irritate most referees mate. It’s all part of the hard-edged, abrasive, Cheika style of playing. Just a pity it backfires when it meets smart officials and opposition.

      • Who?

        Agreed, but I remember Owens being grumpy – unreasonably grumpy – back when Sharpie was captain… He’s good the first week, but has had a tendency to ref each week based on a cumulative understanding of a team. So it’s better to have him periodically than consecutively.

  • Swing Low

    Thank God this story arrived. I mean here it is 1 day before the crucial 3rd test and we finally have Australian supporters with some justification why the referee cost them victory in the 23-7 2nd test loss! Normal transmission has resumed.

    I mean let’s face it, all Wallaby losses are because of the referee right? It just wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t have a whinge and shift the focus after a crap performance onto the referee mistakes. Be honest, the 2 African’s Joubert and Peyper are both no good in Wallaby tests. The Brit’s Owens, Barnes and Clancy are hopeless. The Frenchmen Poite, Gauzere and Garces can’t speak proper English so they’re shit and the Kiwi’s Pollock, Robson and Jackson, well they’re Kiwi’s so they must be biased against Aussie team right? It’s the same for every test of every rugby season and you are particularly justified right now to think this because Wallaby head coach Michael Cheika is often seen in the coaches box jumping up and down, swearing & cursing like a bloody buffoon after some refereeing decisions. God it’s a good look.

    You Aussies keep clinging to those handful of 50:50 calls that really should be 100:0 to the Wallabies. The rest of us will focus on this English team who are smarter, fitter and better skilled. That is why we have comfortably won the 1st 2 tests and why this weekend’s 3rd test could be a hiding. Oh – and it will have little to do with Nigel Owens, despite what you are sure to think.

    • gladstonekinnoul

      BAd reffing worked for them in the WC tho

    • first time long time

      I don’t think you actually read much of the stuff written hear or have trouble comprehending it.
      Opinions are pretty much unanimous that the Wallabies were poor and England were good and thats why we lost.

      Just because you lose doesn’t mean you can’t discuss ref decision.

      Thirdly, if you are going to write complete tripe, please make it shorter.

      Lastly, good luck tonight.

      • first time long time

        before you give me grief for my spelling yes I meant “here” not “hear”

    • Seaweed

      Hey, in case you haven’t noticed this site is called Green and Gold Rugby. You may have also noticed lots of people posting favourable comments about the English; don’t let that distract you though. Now take your country and go home (oops), and no we won’t be logging on to the Red and the White or whatever that site is called. And good luck by the way.

  • James Cosh

    Aus lost 3 games to the better team on the night!
    There were several penalties that went to Aus throughout the series that a case could be made for Eng and several acts that went unpunished!
    Better to work on your rugby then moan about the ref!

    • Who’s moaning about the ref? Try reading the article

  • LED

    I havent read everything below to see if this has already been mentioned but Joubert was hounded in the press and by players and even world rugby for the way he reffed Australia in the world cup match against Scotland with some saying he was way too soft on us and single handedly allowed Australia to win a game we shouldn’t have won with his final decision which was after a number of contentious calls that seemed to go the Wallabies way. This then ultimately resulted in Australia knocking England out of the Cup.

    Is there anyone else wondering whether he was being deliberately tough on Australia here to avoid any assertions by the northern hemisphere again of this? Its not too far faetched to believe that the referees boss of world rugby would have spoken with all referees in this series andreminded them of the northern hemisphere furore back then.

    From the Eurosport article back then:

    “South African rugby referee Craig Joubert has finally admitted that he ran off the pitch because he feared an angry confrontation with Scotland players after a late decision that handed their Rugby World Cup quarter-final match to Australia.
    And Joubert has also admitted that with hindsight he would have reconsidered his decision to award Australia the contentious last-gasp penalty which saw them edge Scotland 35-34 at Twickenham in October. World Rugby later announced Joubert had made the wrong decision and should have awarded a scrum”


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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