Referee Roman Poite also came under fire for a controversial decision in the All Black Test against the British and Irish Lions in 2017. Photo: Mark Baker/AP

He is the referee many Springbok fans love to hate, and now the Boks will have to come face-to-face with him once more.

Romain Poite of France has been appointed to handle the third Bok Test on the end-of-year tour to Europe, against Scotland at Murrayfield.

The 43-year-old is infamous in Mzansi for the 2013 controversy involving Bismarck du Plessis, when Poite issued a yellow card for the Bok hooker’s thunderous tackle on Dan Carter in an All Black Test at Eden Park in Auckland.

Governing body World Rugby – which was the International Rugby Board then – confirmed that Poite had made the wrong decision.

Du Plessis was sent off in the second half for another big call when he yellow-carded the Bok No 2 for leading with the elbow when carrying the ball up against Liam Messam, who was struck in the throat as a result.

At the time, Du Plessis said in an interview with The Star newspaper that while he was surprised by both decisions, “I have no hard feelings and bear no grudges” towards Poite.

“I do not expect an apology. I have no doubt that Mr Poite had no ill intentions towards the Springboks or me.

“It must have been a great occasion for him to have been awarded a Test match viewed as arguably the greatest clash in world rugby.

“The commentary in the media must have an immense impact on him. I feel sorry for him, and I do not want him to be banished from the rugby fraternity or to be viewed as a ‘villain’.

“I bear no grudges against him, and I have no doubt that he tried his best out there on the field.”

Well, Poite has continued to officiate, and even handled the Boks this year in the second Test against England in Bloemfontein in June.

The match went off without any serious incident as the Boks won 23-12 to claim a series victory.

But he was also in the spotlight for changing a kickable penalty for the All Blacks to a scrum in the final Test against the British and Irish Lions in 2017, which ended in a 15-15 draw and the series being shared 1-1.

Apart from Poite, Australian Angus Gardner will take charge of the Boks’ opening tour Test against England at Twickenham on November 3.

Gardner was the 31st man in the middle when Rassie Erasmus’ team lost 32-30 in the last minute to the All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend, and was criticised for a number of debatable calls – especially the pass from Codie Taylor for Aaron Smith’s try, which looked forward.

Welshman Nigel Owens will handle the Bok encounter against France in Paris on November 10, with Luke Pearce of England blowing the whistle for the Wales Test in Cardiff on November 24.

Match officials for Bok tour

England v South Africa (Twickenham, London)

Saturday 3 November at 5pm

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia). Assistant referees: Jerome Garces (France), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand). TMO: Olly Holmes (Ireland)

France v South Africa (Stade de France, Paris)

Saturday 10 November at 10.05pm

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales). Assistant referees: Matthew Carley and Tom Foley (England). TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Scotland v South Africa (Murrayfield, Edinburgh)

Saturday 17 November at 7.20pm

Referee: Romain Poite (France). Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Frank Murphy (Ireland). TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Wales v South Africa (Principality Stadium, Cardiff)

Saturday 24 November 2018 at 7.20pm

Referee: Luke Pearce (England). Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes and Karl Dickson (England). TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)



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