Boks vs All Blacks: Man in the Middle
Jerome Garces will referee his third Springbok Test on Saturday when the Boks take on the All Blacks in Wellington. South Africa won both previous games overseen by Garces.
The Frenchman was one of Romain Poite's assistant referees in the Boks' last outing to New Zealand, when Bismarck du Plessis was sent off early in the second half. To be fair on Garces, he wasn't involved in the controversial decisions.
Garces, who turns 41 in October, made his international debut in 2010. He has only refereed a handful of big Test matches, including the Rugby Championship fixture between South Africa and Australia at Newlands last year.
As is the case with a certain other French referee, Garces also enjoys handing out cards, and in the game in Cape Town in 2013 went to his pocket four times as he sin-binned Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen, Michael Hooper and Sitaleki Timani. According to the New Zealand-based news site Stuff.co.nz, Garces gave out 11 yellow cards in 14 matches he refereed in the Heineken Cup in 2012.
One area in which Garces has been particularly strict in the past is the scrum. In 2011, herefereed a club game between Saracens and Ospreys and at one stage, awarded 11 penalties from 12 scrums.
In the All Blacks' win over Argentina in 2013, Garces awarded half his penalties for infringements at the scrum. When you compare how few scrums there are in a game in relation to the number of break downs, it shows Garces' willingness to penalise this facet of play.
The dominant side at the scrum on Saturday will be certain to pick up a few penalties in this area of the game and could even force a yellow card to be awarded.
Garces also had the privilege of refereeing the Top 14 final last year in front of a crowd of more than 80,000 people when Castres beat Toulon 19-14. Johan le Roux is a sport presenter and reporter at Eyewitness News .
Johan le Roux is a sport presenter and reporter at Eyewitness News .