We are all guilty of pinning the blame on the referee, when our team comes up just short of a win. Agonisingly close only to lose by a split decision and a points difference. Scotland were the latest victims to this brutal defeat on the weekend when referee Craig Joubert gave Australia a last minute penalty, enabling them to slot over a kick in the dying minutes to win the game.
Although I am not Scottish or have any link to the country, I did feel for them. Usually the underdogs of the six nations, Scotland showed us the rugby they are capable of playing and what a spectacle it was to see! A fantastic outing against the Aussies, only for the team down under to snatch the victory, booting out the last home nation of the quarter finals.
Despite the heartbreak and the total anger towards the game, the referee made the decisions, the final whistle has blown. The game is over.
Or so we thought. A day later World rugby decided to brand their referee “wrong”. I’m unsure why, but Joubert could not go to the television match official, seemingly its been overplayed in this tournament! So instead of awarding a scrum for the initial knock on, Joubert gave Australia the penalty kick.
Scotland 34 – 35 Australia
There is no changing the end result, so why throw Joubert under the bus. Yes he made the wrong decision, but he made it in a split second. World rugby have most likely watched that sequence of play over and over again before making their decision. But why did they have to throw his name out as wrong!
The beautiful thing about rugby has always been the best of mates playing against each other before sharing a handshake and a hug afterwards. The opposing supporters competing for their voices to be heard, then sharing a pint in the clubhouse afterwards. Unlike football where fans are kept in separate pens and players and managers alike scream at referees like disgruntled schoolboys.
So what now? Are we turning on our referees? Attacking them for an honest mistake? Conjuring conspiracy theories that he was working for the other team?
Where has the spirit of rugby gone? Please don’t let our beloved game turn into football!