In case you missed it, this was the big call that referee Craig Joubert made in the Super Rugby semi finals that incensed commentator, and Waratahs fan, Phil Kearns. Joubert ruled that Jacques Potgieter’s tackle was high, so not only awarded a penalty try, but chose to yellow card the flanker too.
Former Wallaby hooker Kearns fired back at Kiwi fans this week, defending his comments.
“This week I’ve been copping it from my mates across the ditch. All those Kiwis over there and you know what, they’re giving it to me.
“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t upset you Kiwis so I’m pretty happy about all this. He [Potgieter] gets yellow carded and I reckon fair enough. The arm comes around and the laws of the game — yes, it was reckless, yes it made contact to the head.
“I’m prepared to cop the yellow card but it should not have been a penalty try – he was no certainty to score that.
“If you’re having a good game as a referee you don’t have 30,000 people chanting, ‘Joubert’s a w*****r’. And at the end of the game he got booed off the field. That would tend to indicate that he didn’t have a good game,” Kearns said.
“I think Joubert’s performance overall was average. I thought there were a lot of inconsistencies. In the commentary position you just call it as you see it. That’s how I saw it.”
Kearns, ahead of an all-New Zealand Super Rugby Final, then hit below the belt.
“Craig Joubert, in my view, is one of the better referees in the game but the other night he had a shocker. So you Kiwis – shut up. That same ref gifted you the World Cup final in 2011 – just ask the rest of the world.”
Former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan, who has officiated at four Rugby World Cups, has slated Kearns for misleading the public, and clearly having a poor understanding of the laws.
“Joubert’s decision was correct. He methodically went through the process, highlighting to the public his thoughts on the matter and then explained his decision very coherently to the Tahs’ captain and the guilty player,” Kaplan explained via his website, ratetheref.co.za
“Given that Osborne only ended up a few centimetres short, it was the referee’s judgment that he would have scored but not for the swinging arm. It seems fair enough, even though to some viewers it may have seemed like a tough call.
“This led to Phil Kearns, a really good guy off the field, spitting his dummy out and showing his true colours by claiming that the referee was having a shocker. He then tried to include Rod Kafer into the mix, who wouldn’t be drawn into the tirade.
“It was an appalling bit of commentary and must have left his employers red-faced at the degree of parochialism he was showing to an audience that deserved better. Not only did he display the petulance that cannot and should not be tolerated, but he misled the public (ignorantly I would say) about the actual events that were transpiring in the match.
“What a joke! And therein lies the issue… the networks are only too keen to get ex-players involved, some of whom only have the most basic knowledge of the laws of the game; and these characters are misleading the public and giving them a distorted view of events.”