Livid Scotland rugby great Gavin Hastings wants Craig Joubert to never be allowed to referee another Test match again after his contentious penalty decision led to a heart-breaking World Cup loss to Australia.
Scotland, huge underdogs to knock off the Wallabies in their quarter-final on Saturday (Sunday AEDT), were just two minutes away from a famous victory at Twickenham.
However Joubert penalised Scotland for offside after a fumbled ball at the back of a lineout that also made contact with Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps.
Bernard Foley stepped up to deliver the match-winning penalty kick to seal a thrilling 35-34 triumph and a spot in the semis against Argentina.
Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw was despondent, but it was former fullback Hastings – the country’s second-highest point-scorer who retired in 1995 – that didn’t hold back.
“He should be sent home tomorrow, he should be punished and he should not be allowed to make an international rugby commitment again,” Hastings told BBC Radio.
Laidlaw and Hastings were also angered that Joubert sprinted off the field after blowing the full-time whistle amid a chorus of boos.
Laidlaw also revealed he spoke to Joubert on the field and believed him to be in two minds about the decision.
“I asked Joubert (about the penalty) on several occasions. I’m not sure what the protocols are,” Laidlaw said.
“I think you can see from the way he was taking his time – he was certainly having a look at the big screen and wasn’t sure himself.
“And then he made a sharp exit at the end of the game, that’s for sure. I never got a chance to speak to him after the game, he was off that quick.
Hastings, again, was more direct.
“That is the worst thing I have seen on a rugby field in a very long time. He is not prepared to face up to the players, that is not rugby and that is not the spirit of rugby,” Hastings said.
A constant threat at halfback and also booting 19 points, Laidlaw questioned why the video referee hadn’t been used to adjudicate on the last-minute penalty – though rules dictate they can’t be called on for penalty decisions.
Shattered Scotland also lamented another second-half call when winger Sean Maitland was sin-binned for deliberately knocking the ball down.
With Maitland off the field, Australia crossed on his side of the field through Drew Mitchell, to take the lead in the see-sawing contest.
“Looking at two decisions, all I would say – and you know Scotland are often the underdogs – is just saying ‘would the referee have made that decision against New Zealand?’,” asked former player and coach Sir Ian McGeechan.
“And if the answers is yes, then you say ‘I’ll live with that’.
“And sometimes I’m not always convinced.”