Joubert to ref final

South Africa’s Craig Joubert will referee Sunday’s World Cup final between the All Blacks and France.

Joubert, who took charge of the New Zealand versus Australia semi-final, becomes only the second South African to take charge of the grand final after Andre Watson, who has enjoyed the responsibility on two occasions. The appointment was made by the IRB’s Match Official Selection Committee in Auckland on Monday following a thorough review of performances during the knock-out phase.

Joubert will be joined by Alain Rolland (Ireland) and Nigel Owens (Wales) as assistant referees and Giulio De Santis (Italy) as Television Match Official.

Meanwhile, Wayne Barnes will take charge of the Bronze Final between Australia and Wales on Friday. The Englishman will be supported by assistant referees Romain Poite (France) and George Clancy (Ireland) with Shaun Veldsman (South Africa) as Television Match Official.

IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien said: ‘The IRB Match Official Selection Committee was delighted with Craig and Alain’s performances in the semi-finals. Alain will perform the reserve referee role should he be required.

‘We may be nearing the conclusion of what has been a truly superb Rugby World Cup, but our focus remains firmly on consistency, penalising the clear and the obvious and tackling the ‘big five’ areas.

‘Collectively we continue to work together as a unit and maintain a zero tolerance attitude towards infringements and foul play across the key areas of the game. In that regard, I would also like to thank the coaches for their buy-in to the process during this tournament.’

Joubert said: ‘It is an enormous honour to get the final and I would like to thank Paddy and the Committee for giving me the opportunity. The whole team has performed superbly, assisted each other and bonded over the course of the last six weeks and I would like to thank them for their support and best wishes. I am now really looking forward to getting out there and enjoying the occasion.’