While statements from Rugby’s ruling bodies confirming that a referee made a wrong decision are rare, the statement about Joubert is not unique.
Two years ago Romain Poite was the subject of a similar statement in relation to a decision he made in a Rugby Championship match between New Zealand and South Africa.
At that time the IRB (now World Rugby) said:“Just as players and coaches make mistakes, the decision was an unfortunate case of human error by the match officials, who, having reviewed the match, fully recognise and accept that they made a mistake in the application of law.”
In 2012 Ireland’s Alain Rolland was the subject of another IRB statement in relation to a game between Australia and South Africa. His decision was to refuse a substitution of a front row player by Australia.
IRB match official selection committee chairman John Jeffrey said: “The area of substitution management is a team effort. This was an unfortunate case of human error by the match officials who accept that they made a mistake.”
SANZAR’s head of referees, Lyndon Bray made comments in 2012 on referee decisions at least twice.
In March, referee Keith Brown was called to account for his officiating of a match between two clubs, Cheetahs and Brumbies.
Bray said Brown would undergo SANZAR’s official review, but he had already done a “self-review” where the imbalance was apparent.
“Keith has done his own self-review and out of it the scrums to me stood out as the big imbalance,” Bray toldSuperSport.com
Then, in April it was referee Marius Jonker who was in the spotlight after a decision in the game between the Brumbies and the Bulls.
Bray branded the incident – where Bulls loose forward CJ Stander scored a try after Morne Steyn clearly knocked on the ball in the build-up – as a “stone-cold mistake” by referee Marius Jonker but despite his criticism, Bray is backing the South African official for his overall performance.
“That particular error is just a stone-cold mistake,” Bray told AAP.
"He’s just got to put his hand up and say ’we got it completely wrong’."