South African Craig Joubert experienced joy and sadness after being chosen to referee the 2011 Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and France in Auckland on Sunday.
Although thrilled to be following in the footsteps of compatriot Andre Watson, who whistled the 1999 and 2003 finals, he regrets his father is not alive to watch him.
“My late father got me into refereeing and I cannot help but think how proud he would have been,” Joubert said in a statement issued by the South African Rugby Union.
Joubert said he would not have minded sitting in an Eden Park stand this weekend, cheering for defending champions South Africa in the quadrennial showpiece of rugby union.
“It is disappointing that they are not in the final, but now I have the opportunity to fly the South African flag in the absence of our beloved Springboks and hope to make my country proud.”
South Africa were defeated 11-9 by bogey opponents Australia last weekend in a controversial quarter-final with New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence strongly criticised for his interpretation of the breakdown laws.
Joubert will not do anything different ahead of a final which presents the All Blacks with a chance to reclaim a trophy they last won in 1987 by defeating France in the first World Cup.
“My preparation will be the same as for any other game. It is a big occasion, but I will have to concentrate on doing what I have been doing and to be consistent,” he said.