Jonathan Ka­plan

The ex­pert view on Jerome Garces, the man in con­trol of to­mor­row’s show­piece in Yoko­hama

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World Cup Final - Man in the mid­dle: Jerome Garces will be tak­ing charge of his fi­nal match be­fore re­tire­ment


Com­po­sure, self-be­lief and an abil­ity to stand his ground when the heat is on. There is no way that any­thing ei­ther side says to him will sway Jerome’s de­ci­sion­mak­ing. My ref­er­ee­ing phi­los­o­phy was based on three words – flair, judg­ment and nerve. Judg­ment is the abil­ity to tell right from wrong, flair the skill to add colour to the pic­ture in front of you and nerve is the ca­pac­ity to stay calm in the big mo­ments. Those first two can be taught, but you ei­ther have the nerve to ref­eree the big games or you don’t. It is in­nate. Jerome does and he won’t be over­awed by the big­gest game of any ref­eree’s life.


He does not mind an arm-wres­tle and will al­low teams to go at it, which is a plus point for most sides. He is a prag­matic ref­eree who al­lows the play­ers to de­ter­mine the out­come, but is brave enough to act if nec­es­sary. Some­one like

Nigel Owens, for ex­am­ple, will try to un­lock the flow of a game and some­times ac­cu­racy can be marginalis­ed if you try too hard. Jerome ap­pears more by the book and more risk-averse.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and de­ci­sion­mak­ing

Ex­cel­lent, con­sid­er­ing English is not his nat­u­ral lan­guage. He sells his de­ci­sions very well and that is key in a game of this mag­ni­tude. Not afraid to make big de­ci­sions, as we saw when he dis­missed Sonny Bill Wil­liams in the second Lions Test. He is very calm and res­o­lute.


He did not do well enough in the South Africa-new Zealand game on the open­ing week­end. It was not a dis­as­trous per­for­mance, but his ac­cu­racy was a lit­tle off – frankly, I think it gave him a kick up the back­side as he’s been very good since. The semi-fi­nal be­tween Wales and South Africa was a poor match, but that was down to how the teams ap­proached it. He held his nerve well, es­pe­cially in the fi­nal 10 min­utes.


Four of­fi­cials stood out in this tour­na­ment. Two – Wayne Barnes and Jaco Peyper – are ruled out due to their na­tions com­pet­ing in the fi­nal. The other, Owens, has suf­fered an in­jury. It is Jerome’s last game be­fore re­tire­ment and I think he will go out in style.

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