Joubert’s decision to run off without shaking the hand of either captain has been roundly condemned and his performance will be the subject of a review from World Rugby.
But Gosper’s remarks – made at the Beyond Rugby event to BBC Radio 5 live – are unlikely to soothe the mood of fans who were aggrieved by Joubert’s behaviour.
Australia won against Scotland with a controversial last minute penalty 35-34. The referee turned the result of the match which Scotland would have otherwise won.
Gosper also suggested the reaction of the Twickenham crowd – which contained a large contingent of Scotland fans – may have had a part to play in Joubert’s decision to make a quick exit.
He added: “It was a very vocal crowd. I’m sure he sensed a bit of hostility and who knows how that affects behaviour? But he’s a superb referee and he has been for some time.
“I haven’t had the full facts to react to the questions. I don’t want to condemn without the full facts. We will get the full facts about the officiating and behaviour in due course.”
Joubert was defended by Australia coach Michael Cheika today, but he found little back-up among World Cup pundits, who were unanimous in criticising Joubert.
Matt Dawson said Joubert’s actions were ‘disrespectful’ and ‘despicable’, while probably the strongest condemnation of all came from former Scottish international Gavin Hastings.
“That is the worst thing I have seen on a rugby field in a long time,” Hastings told BBC Radio 5 live. “He is not prepared to face up to the players.
“That is not the spirit of rugby. He should be sent home tomorrow and he should not be allowed to make an international rugby commitment again.
“If I see referee Craig Joubert again, I am going to tell him how disgusted I am. It was disgraceful that he ran straight off the pitch at the end like that.”
- Angered France with his handling of 2011 World Cup final. Accused of “not wanting France to win” by Dimitri Yachvili.
- Labelled ‘shocking’ by Australian commentator Phil Kearns for his handling of a Super 12 game between the Highlanders and Waratahs.
- Criticised for handling of rucks in New Zealand’s win in England in 2013.
Looks like he’s a regular operator.