Jerome Garces will be the center referee of the Rugby World Cup final between England and South Africa on Saturday despite criticism of his role in Wales’ semi-final exit on Sunday against South Africa.
Garces who is the first Frenchman to whistle a Rugby World Cup final, is joined by Romain Poite (France) and Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) as assistant referees and Ben Skeen (New Zealand) as TMO – and is picked ahead of Welshman Nigel Owens.
Owens, who refereed England’s semi-final win over New Zealand, misses out having overseen the last World Cup final and the opening match of this year’s tournament.
But Garces’ appointment does not come without controversy, after he was widely criticised for his handling of South Africa’s semi-final win over Wales.
Former England ref Rob Debney said that Garces: “changed the way he refereed in the final 10 minutes and contributed to South Africa winning it, which is not what a referee should do.”
England have enjoyed a good record with Garces as ref in the Eddie Jones era, losing just twice in seven Tests since 2016. Those came against New Zealand at Twickenham in 2018, and the Ireland match in 2017 which ended their 18-match unbeaten run. Garces also officiated England’s 40-16 thrashing of Australia in the quarters.
Faf de Klerk, the South African scrum-half said of the Frenchman’s appointment: “He traditionally is a good ref who is not one-sided at all. We can learn from this weekend, and the first game as well, on how he officiates scrums and mauling. As players we should try and get in his head as much as possible early to see how he wants the game to go to make sure we’re not on his wrong side.”
”It’s going to be a massive contest – we will let him do his thing. If we let him do his job the game should flow nicely.”
For his part, Garces thanked his colleagues as he accepted the honour of officiating the final on Tuesday morning. “I am honoured and delighted to be appointed to referee the final,”he said.
“It is a dream as a referee, but this is a team sport, and as a team of four, we will be out there to do the best for the teams, the fans, the sport, but also the entire match officials team, selectors and support team, who have worked so hard over the last four years.”
It will be Garces’ 11th World Cup match, and his 55th test match as a referee.
Sourced from Daily Mail.
Author: Moses Echodu
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