We are nit saying SA is a dangerous place. During the Football World Cup hundreds of thousands of officials and fans flocked to our beautiful country without incident. But we all know what a passionate bunch of guys the Springbok supporters are and we have even seen a ref tackled on the field (Remember the Piet van Zyl incident?)
Poite was persona non grata in South Africa last year after he incorrectly gave Bok hooker Bismarck du Plessis a yellow card against the All Blacks in Auckland. He is scheduled to take charge of the June 14 Test at Kings Park and will be also be assistant referee for the Tests in Nelspruit and Port Elizabeth (and the behavior of passionate supporters in the Wild East can be unpredictable).
The Boks start their season with a match against a World XV on June 7 – believed to be in Cape Town. They then tackle Wales in consecutive Tests (Durban, June 14 and Nelspruit, June 21) before concluding the Incoming Series with a match against Scotland in Port Elizabeth on June 28.
Beeld newspaper reports the IRB’s head of referees, Joël Jutge, defended the decision, saying it’s needed for Poite to referee another Springbok Test, especially with next year’s World Cup in mind as it’s almost certain their paths will cross again.
Jutge said Poite had publicly admitted to making a mistake and was “punished” by not getting any top level Tests in November last year. The only Test awarded to the Frenchman was a match between Georgia and Samoa in Tbilisi in Eastern Europe.
“The South African rugby public is very passionate, but they know the game. They won’t forget the mistake, but I’m of the opinion that he won’t feel unwelcome in South Africa,” said Jutge.
In the Eden Park Test last hear Poite showed Du Plessis a yellow card in the 16th minute for a perfectly legal tackle on All Black flyhalf Dan Carter. He followed this with a and a subsequent red card for leading with an elbow which connected with the throat of flank Liam Messam.
The Boks fought back with 14 men but went down 29-15. The IRB then released a statement saying Poite was wrong. This latest decision is also.