Monday 23 October 2017

Controversial Irish rugby referee Rolland spared involvement in Wales’ Six Nations campaign

CONTROVERSIAL World Cup referee Alain Rolland has been spared any involvement in Wales' RBS 6 Nations campaign.

Rolland became public enemy number one in the Principality after issuing Sam Warburton with a red card for a spear tackle on Vincent Clerc in last month's World Cup semi-final defeat by France.

The Irishman was heavily criticised for the dismissal of Wales' captain just 18 minutes into a highly-charged evening at Eden Park. However, International Rugby Board directives on spear tackling indicate he was within his rights to send off Warburton.

Rolland has been given two games to oversee - France v England on March 11 and Italy v Scotland on March 17 - and will not be present at any Wales fixtures in the capacity of assistant referee or television match official.

France, however, will come face to face with the referee who did them few favours in their World Cup final against New Zealand.

Craig Joubert's performance in their 8-7 defeat came under scrutiny after the South African failed to punish several high tackles by the All Blacks, among other offences.

France number eight Imanol Harinordoquy was one of those who felt Joubert contributed to his team's downfall in an epic final in Auckland.

"Joubert was only looking at us. Richie McCaw played the whole match in our camp. He did a lot of bad things and nobody told him anything," said Harinordoquy.

"Three minutes from the end of the game, I saw him dive on the side of a ruck and he stayed there for ages."

Joubert will oversee France's potentially decisive clash with Wales at Millennium Stadium on March 17.

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