KSA Shark ©

Craig Joubert’s thoughts on the final.

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Bulls, In the news, Stormers, Super 14 on 26 May 2010 at 18:37
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It’s a long way from the 14-year-old nervously refereeing the Under-14 E at Maritzburg College to the 32-year-old man, one of the top referees in the world, striding out onto Orlando Stadium for the Final of the 2010 Super 14 – the Shoot-out in Soweto, the All-in at Orlando, the big sporting occasion between great rivals. It is a journey that Craig Paul Joubert has made. He looks forward to it with us – this his 50th Super rugby match as a referee.

Rugby 365 interviewed Craig Joubert.

How does it feel to be appointed to the S14 Final?.

It’s a huge honour. I’ve been an assistant referee in three Super 14 finals before, and so it’s a proud moment for me to be out in the middle this time. The fact that it is a South African derby, played in Soweto for the Super 14 crown makes for an historic day and one that I can’t wait to be a part of. It will be a significant and historic day for South African rugby.

Bulls vs Stormers, North vs South, a cultural clash, once the lifeblood of South African rugby in times of isolation – any idea what that is like?

I refereed this fixture in last year’s Super 14 round robin stage in front of a sold-out Loftus. That game stands out as one of my career highlights. I grew up in an era when the big North (Northern Transvaal/Blue Bulls) vs South (Western Province) clashes defined the Currie Cup.

Interestingly in over 50 Currie Cup matches this is a fixture I haven’t refereed but one that I have always aspired to.

Both the Stormers and Bulls were rewarded for 14 weeks of good performances with home semi finals and both won those comfortably against quality opposition, so I think it’s fair to say that the best two teams in the competition will meet each other at 5 p.m. in Soweto on Saturday.

Any facets of play needing particular attention?

There are so many mini battles within this contest. The set-pieces will be vital and will determine the pattern of the game.

The battle at the breakdown between two sets of world class loose forwards will determine which team gets on the front foot and of course the battle at 10 between Morné Steyn and Peter Grant, who are both exceptional players and whose goal kicking will be vital to their team, will shape this contest.

What about working with the captains?

The referee/captain relationship is an important aspect of overall game management and both parties have a role to play in ensuring that that relationship remains respectful, especially when everyone is under pressure.

I’ve worked with both Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger for many years in Super rugby and in the Currie Cup and I’m really comfortable with both of them. I had a few beers with Schalk in Cape Town after the pre season match against the Sharks and ended up sitting next to Victor for most of the flight home from Australia a few weeks ago. I think it’s good for all of us to understand each other as individuals away from the game.

How do you prepare physically and psychologically for such an occasion?

Physically all the work has been done. I started training for this season on 1 January and in the five and half months till now the physical training has been all about ensuring that every weekend I’m physically prepared for the challenge of the match. This weekend is no different. Psychologically this week is all about preparing for the fact that bonus points and four tries are irrelevant this weekend. Winning is the only thing that is important to these two teams now.

Then suddenly it will be match day. How will that day run?

The preparation and meeting with coaches, etc, have all taken place by the time match day dawns. Match day itself is a pretty low key day. Usually I have breakfast with the assistant referees and TMO to discuss the game and my expectations of them followed by a gentle 20 min cycle and stretch.

I like to eat about 3 hours before kick-off so for a 5 p.m. game I’ll have a sandwich at about 2 p.m. Hydration the whole day is key.

We like to arrive at the stadium about and hour and a half before kick off. Supersport like to broadcast the pre-match change room walk-throughs about 50 minutes before kick off and then mike us up for the coin toss.

From there I like to get out on the field while the teams are warming up to suck up the atmosphere and go through a few runs to get the blood running. 15 minutes prior to kick off I’m back in the change room getting the TV mikes and assistant referees communication devices inserted into the specially made vest we wear under our jerseys.

The Supersport TV director gets the teams onto the field on time and we follow them out.

How did the journey begin?

My late dad, Des, was a provincial referee. He was a great man and was hugely influential in shaping the skills required to referee at the top level. He taught me that refereeing is mostly about people management and respect for players, and this advice is as valuable this weekend in the Super 14 Final as it was at 08.30 on a Saturday morning at Maritzburg College.


  • Congrats on the appointment Craig, you’ll do a great job.

  • Comment 1, posted at 26.05.10 18:42:12 by KSA Stormer © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Is it Joubert who was dropped this year from the IRB elite panel ❓

  • Comment 2, posted at 26.05.10 20:08:35 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    Hertford Highlander
  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 2) :

    No it was Jonker, who was dropped.

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.05.10 05:01:09 by KSA Stormer © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Congrats dude, I hope u blow it the Stormers’ way 😈

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.05.10 06:42:00 by JarsonX Reply
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  • HH
    Are you sure it wasn’t a NZ referee??
    Everyone knows SA has the top refs in the world! 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.05.10 07:13:38 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 5) : :mrgreen: 😆 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.05.10 07:32:01 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 5) : @FireTheLooser (Comment 6) :

    I was of the same opinion before this years Super 14 but it looks to me like they have come crashing back down to the rest of the bunch.

    Joubert isn’t on the IRB panel …..is he !

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.05.10 09:15:03 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    Hertford Highlander
  • Wasn`t it Joubert who blew the `Tahs out of contention against the Bulls? If that`s the case . . congratulations should go the Bulls sommer now already :mrgreen:

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.05.10 10:13:12 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 7) :

    Get your facts right it was Jonker.

    …..which explains why he has been so shite this year

    ….we won’t be seeing him on the international circuit any time soon.

    Good luck Mr Joubert 😉

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.05.10 10:51:20 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 9) :

    All you had to do was listen to what I said the first time around. 😛

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.05.10 18:37:11 by KSA Stormer © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Stormer © (Comment 10) :

    Yes …somehow i missed that….never was much of a reader !

    ….sorry boss ! 😥

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.05.10 18:45:27 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 11) : 😛

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.05.10 18:57:26 by KSA Stormer © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • No finals thread????

    Where are the Stormer supporters, Paarl is cooking!

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.05.10 11:37:29 by PaarlBok Reply

  • I think Joubert is a Bull at heart, not unlike Jonker for that matter . . .

  • Comment 14, posted at 29.05.10 10:57:23 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 14) : Must be – surely the reason why the Bulls lost both games he officiated in? 😯 😉

  • Comment 15, posted at 29.05.10 13:46:52 by diablo (We'll battle ALL on the beaches, We'll battle All in Orlando) Reply

  • @diablo (We’ll battle ALL on the beaches, We’ll battle All in Orlando) (Comment 15) : I think you`re wrong there. But hey congrats! Bulls deserve to be champs 😉

  • Comment 16, posted at 30.05.10 10:42:46 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre

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