Rugby Union

Craig Joubert doubts decision to award Australia crucial penalty at World Cup

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Referee Craig Joubert has admitted with hindsight he would have reconsidered his decision to award Australia a contentious penalty which saw them edge Scotland 35-34 in a World Cup quarter-final at Twickenham in October.

The South African has also admitted he ran off the pitch after blowing the final whistle to avoid confrontation with the players.

World Rugby later announced Joubert had made the wrong decision and should have awarded a scrum but it was the 38-year-old's decision to run off the pitch which angered many.

"In my head was a desire to avoid any possible unseemly confrontation that would mar what had been a wonderful occasion," said Joubert in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

"I had it in my mind somewhere that there had been an incident between the official and the England coaches (Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree) in their match against Australia and I just didn't want any of that to happen, not because I don't understand the emotions of the moment for players and coaches, their desire for answers to questions, but just because I did not want that to become another possible incident.

"That was my thinking, not for myself but for the situation."

On the late penalty, Joubert added: "In hindsight, would I have reconsidered that decision? Absolutely."

He has since built bridges with Scotland coach Vern Cotter and scrum-half Greig Laidlaw.

Cotter had rung him shortly after the quarter-final to tell him he understood the complexities of what had happened and they met again during the Six Nations when Joubert ran the line as Ireland played Scotland in Dublin.

"I had a coffee with Vern before the game and a beer with Greig (Laidlaw) afterwards. They were very natural and typical interactions which I enjoyed," added Joubert.

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