Blog,  Interviews

“Embrace scrutiny on refereeing decisions”

When you will climb the refereeing ladder, you can also expect more opinions and views on the decisions you make. More reporters will be there and your games will be video-taped. Rugby referee Craig Joubert says you should not be afraid of it. “Embrace scrutiny on refereeing decisions. Accept it for what it is.”

Referee Craig Joubert
Referee Craig Joubert in the World Rugby YouTube video.

The South-African referee officiated the rugby World Cup final in 2011 between France v New Zealand 2011 RWC final. He gave his view on this game from a referee perspective. “It’s an enourmous responsibility, but also an enourmous privilige you’ll never take for granted. For someone dreaming about that moment it was very special.”

Craig Joubert says he senses that it was a big occasion for the players. “And I get nervous before games as well”, he admits. “And right before the start of the game I was wired up and ready to go. When you run out at the field and the whistle blew, you’re in the game and it’s business as usual.”

Joubert tells he enjoy the game. The fantastic theatre of the haka and the highlight of the game of players scoring a try.

Lesson for you: don’t panic when you’re feeling nervous as a referee. You’ll feel fine when you’re out on the field.

Do a self-review

“I am not perfect”, admits the rugby referee. In a video on World Rugby’s YouTube channel you can see him describing the last 10 minutes of the game. I’ve embedded the video below. His advice: keep physically working hard so you’re able to get in the best position to make the best decision. And no that’s not easy to be able to keep up with all the players for a full game. “That was months and months of work”

It’s not only big finals you can learn from, but Joubert realises that at higher levels every decision will be looked at closely. Especially at a World Cup final. “An enourmous amount of scrutiny comes on every decision and non-decision”, he says. “One could fear that scrutiny or one could be so in the environment that you embrace that scrutiny and accept it for what it is.”

“I love being in the arena. I love the big occasion and the pressure that comes with it. That kind of scrutiny comes with being a referee in the arena. It’s a thrill that I wouldn’t give up for the world. I have a burning desire to be in that arena. It’s a real thrill that you can’t explain to anyone.”

Joubert’s lesson to all of you: “Do a self-revie of your matches. Realise you’re not perfect and that there are learnings, things that you can do better or differently.”

Please let me know how you review your own games! How did it help you improve?

Want to check a video of Joubert’s story? Check it below.

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