Controversial referee Alain Rolland has won the backing of International Rugby authorities after dismissing Welsh captain Sam Warburton early in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final defeat by France.
While announcing that Sunday’s final, which sees France face a New Zealand team who beat Australia 20-6 yesterday, will be refereed by South African Craig Joubert, the authorities also publicly backed Irishman Rolland after he provoked ire in some quarters for deeming Warburton’s dump tackle on Vincent Clerc a red card offence. IRB referee manager Paddy O’Brien said: “The IRB Match Official Selection Committee was delighted with Craig and Alain’s performances in the semi-finals. Alain will perform the reserve referee role should he be required. We continue to work together as a unit and maintain a zero-tolerance attitude towards infringements and foul play across the key areas of the game.” IRB Match Official Selection Committee Chairman David Pickering, a Welshman, said: “The overall standard in performance by the match official team has been superb.”