Henry thrilled with Joubert appointment

All Blacks coach Graham Henry believes that referee Craig Joubert’s good rapport with the players bodes well for Sunday’s World Cup final.

On Monday, Joubert was announced as the man to handle the showpiece match. In a tournament where referees have been heavily criticised for some dubious calls and in some instances a lackadaisical approach, Joubert has stood out as the most fair and consistent official. Many feel he deserved the final appointment, and Henry is among his admirers.

‘He’s a very good referee, relates well to the players, is very clear in his instruction, has got a lot of composure and has developed as one of the top refs in the world,’ Henry told stuff.co.nz. ‘It’s pleasing because the players enjoy playing when he’s referee, and that’s a sign of a good ref.’

Joubert handled the breakdown well in last week’s semifinal between the All Blacks and Wallabies. While France have no out-and-out fetcher to counter New Zealand’s Richie McCaw, they have also been impressive in this facet of play. If they dominate the collisions, then they could also obtain just reward from Joubert, a referee who favours a dominant, attacking side.

Meanwhile, Henry has confirmed that the All Blacks have no serious injuries following Sunday’s game in Auckland. Centre Ma’a Nonu (shoulder), Cory Jane, Andy Ellis (both nose) and Piri Weepu (virus) are expected to be available for the final.