Craig Joubert quits as Test referee to take World Rugby post

THE match official whose controversial late penalty award led to Scotland's agonising exit from the 2015 Rugby World Cup is quitting Test refereeing to take up a development role with World Rugby.

Craig Joubert is to retire from refereeing.  Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images
Craig Joubert is to retire from refereeing. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

Craig Joubert is to become the Referee Talent Development Coach for the game’s global governing body.

The 39-year-old from Durban was in charge of the World Cup quarter-final between Scotland and Australia at Twickenham and awarded a disputed late penalty, which the Wallabies scored for a dramatic 35-34 win. The South African attracted criticism for then running off the pitch without shaking hands with the players.

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Joubert has refereed 69 Test matches since 2003 and World Rugby announced that he will be moving on to “an important new role to help identify and develop the next crop of top men’s and women’s referees in both sevens and 15s.

“This full-time position, which was globally advertised, will be a crucial link between unions’ own referee development and World Rugby, to ensure the alignment of strategies and programmes, enabling talented and dedicated match officials to realise their full potential at the highest levels of the game.”

Joubert said: “This was not a decision I took lightly given the obvious lure of possibly refereeing the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand next year as well as the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.

“However, the opportunity to make a difference in other peoples’ careers and lives is something which I’m excited about. It really is a dream job.

“This position gives me the opportunity to play a more formal role in sharing my experiences and developing referees and to have a positive influence on the lives and careers of other young referees.

“I am also thrilled that I will continue to referee on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series as we build our team of referees towards the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. I love the sevens environment and being a part of this very special team.”