Controversial Romain Poite one of FOUR French refs from 12 at World Cup

Controversial Romain Poite one of FOUR French refs from 12 at World Cup

Jaco Peyper, referee, and Marius Jonker as TMO, are among the 23 officials announced

It is not fresh news, and there was always the lingering hope that the World Cup referees panel leaked a month ago was incorrect and that there wouldn’t be four referees from France of the 12 who will be in charge of the tests.

And what is more, there is another Frenchman on the assistant referees’ panel of seven.

One only has to mention the controversial decision by Romain Poite in the final drawn match of the British and Irish Lions series in New Zealand in July 2017 – a shambles to decide one of the great series of recent times.

Poite changed a penalty awarded to New Zealand that would have decided the series into a scrum and the three-match series was tied one-all.

‘It was an incident that lit up social media, with even former Lions saying it should have been a penalty to New Zealand,’ reported the news agency AFP afterwards.

♦ And then there was Poite who sent Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis off with a second yellow card against New Zealand in 2013 that many felt probably cost South Africa the test.

Sport24 at the time wrote that ‘the All Blacks went on to win the game 29-15 - a result which led to heavy criticism against the Frenchman, so much so that the International Rugby Board (IRB) even issued a statement admitting Poite had made a mistake.

‘The hatred from fans towards Poite was so bad that a Facebook page was created to stop him from ever refereeing again. To date the page has over 60 000 followers
(That was less than a week later) 

♦ World Rugby on Tuesday announced the squad of 23 match officials selected to take charge of the 48 matches at Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, which runs from 20 September-2 November.

South Africa’s lone referee is Jaco Peyper, who will be officiating at his second World Cup. Marius Jonker, who in 2003 officated as a referee in Australia, is one of th four TMO’s

‘Team 21’ – the 21st tournament team – comprises 12 referees, seven assistant referees and four Television Match Officials (TMOs) representing nine nations.

With significant strength in depth in international officiating, the team has been selected on merit after a comprehensive review of performances over the last four international windows, and features an exciting and strong blend of experience and youth.

Referees (12) –
Wayne Barnes (England), Luke Pearce (England), Jérôme Garcès (France), Romain Poite (France), Pascal Gaüzère (France), Mathieu Raynal (France), Nigel Owens (Wales), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand), Nic Berry (Australia) and Angus Gardner (Australia) – 457 tests as referees
Assistant referees (seven) –
Matthew Carley (England, reserve referee), Karl Dickson (England), Andrew Brace (Ireland), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Shuhei Kubo (Japan) and Alex Ruiz (France) – 130 tests as assistant referees
TMOs (four) –
Graham Hughes (England), Rowan Kitt (England), Ben Skeen (New Zealand) and Marius Jonker (South Africa) – 217 tests as TMOs

'Team 21' has 804 tests under its collective belt, as either referees, assistant referees or TMOs.

Wayne Barnes and Rugby World Cup 2015 final referee Nigel Owens are selected for their fourth consecutive Rugby World Cup as referees, while Luke Pearce, Mathieu Raynal, Ben O’Keeffe, Nic Berry and Angus Gardner are making their Rugby World Cup debut with the whistle after impressive performances in the test arena over the last year.