Craig Joubert stuffed up in the last minutes of the quarter-final match between Australia and Scotland

IT is official. South African referee Craig Joubert got it wrong in the last minutes of the quarter-final match between Australia and Scotland at the weekend, gifting the Wallabies victory and breaking Scottish hearts.

The plucky Scots led 34-32 with a minute go when Joubert awarded the Aussies a controversial penalty, which they converted into a match-winning three points.

The Scots have been fuming ever since and last night the Rugby World Cup referee’s committee issued a statement on the matter, confirming that Joubert erred and that the Wallabies should have been awarded a scrum instead of a penalty.

“The committee confirms that Joubert applied World Rugby Law 11.7 penalising Scotland’s Jon Welsh, who had played the ball following a knock-on by a teammate, resulting in an offside,” a statement read.

“On review of all available angles, it is clear that after the knock-on, the ball was touched by Australia’s Nick Phipps and Law 11.3(c) states that a player can be put on-side by an opponent who intentionally plays the ball.

“In this case, Law 11.3(c) should have been applied, putting Welsh onside. The appropriate decision, therefore, should have been a scrum to Australia for the original knock-on.”

World Rugby high-performance referees manager Joël Jutge added: “Despite this experience, Craig has been and remains a world-class referee and an important member of our team.”

But a few hours later, the same committee appointed the referees to handle this weekend’s semi-finals, and Joubert, who controversially refereed the 2011 final between New Zealand and France, was ignored.

Frenchman Jérôme Garcès will whistle the Springboks’ match against the All Blacks. He will be joined on the touchline by compatriot Romain Poite and Ireland’s John Lacey, with Australian George Ayoub the TMO.

England’s Wayne Barnes will be the referee for the second semi-final between the Wallabies and Pumas. His assistant referees will be South Africa’s Jaco Peyper and Ireland’s George Clancy, with New Zealand’s Ben Skeen the TMO.

Meanwhile, Joubert has been taken to the cleaners by furious Scots. Among then was former fullback, Gavin Hastings, who had this to say to the BBC: “Joubert should be sent home, he should be punished and should not be allowed to make an international rugby commitment again.

“Joubert running off the field (to avoid the Scottish players) was the worst thing I have seen on a rugby field in a long time,” Hastings raged. “If I see him, I will tell him how disgusted I am.”

by Mike Greenaway in London

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