Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Gatland happy with Joubert

26th June 2013 17:31


Craig Joubert

Top performer: Craig Joubert

Lions boss Warren Gatland has called Craig Joubert the world's best referee ahead of the second Test against Australia, which the South African will take charge of.

Gatland's comments come after Chris Pollock was on the receiving end of some criticism for his handling of the first Test, a match that was won 23-21 by the Lions. Joubert assisted the Kiwi in Brisbane but will be the man with the whistle this weekend in Melbourne - a point that Gatland finds comfort in.

"Craig Joubert is a very experienced referee. We'll put the first Test behind us and it will probably be good for him having been an assistant referee in that match, on the sideline, to know about the pace of the game," Gatland told

"I thought he was good in terms of the support he gave the referee and I'm looking forward to the No 1 referee in the world doing next Saturday. We'll meet with him just to get an insight into how he's going to referee the breakdown.

"We felt there were a couple of off-the-ball incidents last weekend - we felt Jonathan Davies was taken off the ball with a charge by someone who changed his line and as a result of that there's been a turnover and Australia received a penalty straight after that too.

"We've got a few things we want sorted and I presume Robbie's got a few things from the Australian point of view as well. It's just part of the game at the moment.

"When you've got as good a goal-kicker as we've got, you have to be a bit more direct and not try to play so wide because he called 'advantage over' very quickly. The referees sometimes play a lengthy advantage and that is one of the inconsistencies in the game.

"A few players came off the field feeling a bit frustrated. They found it difficult (to understand) a couple of times when they were penalised. But that's behind us now and we're confident next weekend with Craig Joubert."

Meanwhile, Pollock has defended the standard of his refereeing in the series-opener but conceded that he did make errors.

"I'm probably 90% happy with the decisions I made," he said.

"There's a couple of decisions I've looked at and thought that's either a tough call or it's wrong. You know, it's such an intense atmosphere, the margins are so fine. At some points you're going to have to make judgment calls."