Rugby World head: Why Craig Joubert left the pitch

Brett Gosper says the referee's decision to leave the field of play was made in the interest of the game.

Scotland vs Australia in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal at Twickenham on 18 October 2015. Picture: Rugby World Cup @rugbyworldcup.

LONDON - The head of World Rugby, Brett Gosper, has told EWN Sport why referee Craig Joubert chose to run from the field shortly after blowing the final whistle in a highly controversial Rugby World Cup quarterfinal that saw Australia edge Scotland 35-34.

Joubert awarded a penalty to Australia with less than two minutes left on the clock, which Bernard Foley kicked to win the game against Scotland and a subsequent review into his performance has decided it should instead have been a scrum.

Their decision to make their review public has seen widespread condemnation of the governing body, saying that he's been hung out to dry.

Gosper says Joubert's decision to leave the field of play was made in the interest of the game.

"Craig is an honourable man and what he was doing was acting on what he felt was in the best interest of the game, he wasn't thinking of himself. I think he sensed that there as some controversy.

"He saw a lot of officials lining up on the sideline to have a chat with him, but he didn't feel that an altercation on the side of the pitch in full public view was good for the game. So he thought best thing for him to do was to make himself scarce so that the scene wouldn't play on the field and I think that was an honourable intention on his part."

But Gosper admits that it certainly didn't look good.

"The aesthetics of it probably weren't positive in that sense, but I think his justification of it is understandable yet we are not keen for our referees to leave the field that way."

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