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Whistle Happy

Craig Joubert to ref World Cup final - but under-fire Rolland lands role too

Irishman will be reserve referee this weekend after Saturday’s tough day at the office.

WHO KNOWS IF the controversial dismissal of Wales captain Sam Warburton was a factor, but Alain Rolland will not referee Sunday’s World Cup final.

South African Craig Joubert will instead officiate the tournament decider between New Zealand and France at Eden Park.

Joubert took charge of the second semi-final when New Zealand beat Australia yesterday.

Rolland – who officiated the finale four years ago – will assist Joubert, along with Welshman Nigel Owens.

Englishman Wayne Barnes, meanwhile, will control the bronze medal match on Friday between Wales and Australia, assisted by Romain Poite (France) and George Clancy (Ireland).

IRB chiefs have backed Rolland since Saturday. ”The IRB (International Rugby Board) match official selection committee was delighted with Craig and Alain’s performances in the semi-finals,” IRB referee manager Paddy O’Brien said.

“Alain will perform the reserve referee role should he be required.

“We may be nearing the conclusion of what has been a truly superb Rugby World Cup, but our focus remains firmly on consistency, penalising the clear and the obvious and tackling the ‘big five’ areas.

Joubert, 33, added: “It is an enormous honour to get the final and I would like to thank Paddy and the committee for giving me the opportunity. The whole team has performed superbly, assisted each other and bonded over the course of the last six weeks. I am now really looking forward to getting out there and enjoying the occasion.”

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