Siya Kolisi. Picture: REUTERS
Siya Kolisi. Picture: REUTERS

Tokyo — So the accent again falls on Monsieur Jérôme Garcès ahead of a Springbok Test.

His appointment to the occasion of a Rugby World Cup semifinal serves to heighten tension and the Boks would have taken the news like a samurai’s sword to the heart. Not that they would say anything publicly.

It is a curious statistic that in the 14 Tests the Boks have played with Garcès in charge they have only won on four occasions. That is by far the worst record they have under all the active referees. In their last 10 Tests with Garcès in charge the Boks have only won once.

Garcès will be aided by Wayne Barnes (England) and Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) as assistant referees and Ben Skeen (New Zealand) as TMO. Barnes may yet prove valuable in this mix.

In their most recent encounter with Garcès the Boks had little joy. He took charge of their opening match at this World Cup when New Zealand won 23-13 in Yokohama. He awarded the All Blacks more than double the number of penalties he gave to the Boks. The All Blacks conceded just four penalties to the Boks’ nine.

The Boks lost 18 turnovers to the All Blacks 12, but the men in black were required to make 114 tackles to the Boks’ 107.

The Boks held 53% of the possession and were in the All Blacks’ half 59% of the time. They even made more metres than the All Blacks and won more rucks. Yet the crucial statistic involving penalties went against them.

The other World Cup semifinal between England and New Zealand will be handled by Welshman Nigel Owens. He will be assisted by Romain Poite and Pascal Gaüzère (both France) as assistant referees, and Marius Jonker (SA) as TMO.

That probably leaves Barnes as the man most likely to ref the final should England lose to New Zealand.