World Cup semi-final referee Alain Rolland believes he made the right call to eject Wales skipper Sam Warburton despite several claims to the contrary.
There was an outcry from many Welsh journalists as well as members of the Wales management following the semi-final match in Auckland. Warburton was red-carded for a dangerous tackle on
France winger Vincent Clerc, and while the No 7 has since admitted that he got it wrong, some still believe that Wales would have won the game, and possibly the World Cup, if not for Rolland’s decision.
The Irish referee has finally responded to accusations that he ‘ruined the game’. Rolland maintains that he got the call right.
‘If I had to do it all over again I would do the same thing,’ he told the Western Mail. ‘I don’t think it needs to be vindicated full stop. The important part for referees, no matter what sport it is, is to take the emotion out of it. We can only officiate on the action itself and what he did merited what happened next because it was dangerous.
‘Did he mean to do it? Was it intentional or unintentional? We don’t officiate on intention, we officiate on the action itself. Unfortunately, what had happened gave me no option but to do what I did.
‘Any time you make a decision, 50 per cent of the people think it is a great call and 50 per cent of the people say “How did he come to that decision?”. That is just the way it is.’
Rolland added that the response by the Welsh contingent and many neutrals wasn’t unexpected.
‘The thing you have to remember is that straight after the game there was huge emotion everywhere, which is understandable. But in time, maybe in 10 or 15 years, it might calm itself down.’
Rolland also commended Warburton for coming out and admitting that he deserved the red card.
‘To be fair to Sam, I think it is a true measure of the man he is. I don’t think he had to come out to say anything and I didn’t really care one way or the other because what happened, happened.
‘I think for the game in general it was a very good comment by Sam because parents looking on would be happy to see he came out and said what he said, which might make the game a bit safer.’
Wales will play the Wallabies in a one-off Test later this month.