Rugby World Cup 2015
Joubert returns to World Cup stage
ESPNscrum Staff
March 23, 2012
South African referee Craig Joubert, France v New Zealand, 2011 Rugby World Cup Final, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, October 23, 2011
South African referee Craig Joubert also took charge of last year's Rugby World Cup Final © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Craig Joubert

South African referee Craig Joubert will return to the Rugby World Cup stage this weekend when he takes charge of the first qualification clash in the battle to be part of the 2015 tournament.

Joubert was the man in charge when New Zealand edged out France for the 2011 World Cup crown in Auckland last October and he insists his pre-match routine will be exactly the same for Mexico's clash with Jamaica at La Ibero Santa Fe in Mexico City on Saturday afternoon.

The 34-year-old arrived in the country on Wednesday to begin a programme of promotional activities and workshops ahead of the big match which will kick-off a journey that will see 80 Unions from six continents compete across 184 matches for the right to claim one of the eight places available via the qualification process for England 2015.

Joubert, who has refereed 33 Tests, said: "It is a great honour to have been selected for this opening Rugby World Cup 2015 qualification match. The Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of our sport for players, coaches, fans and, of course, the match officials and I am looking forward to kicking off the road to England 2015.

"I am really looking forward to the match. There will be no difference in the way that I approach it compared to say a Six Nations match, a Rugby World Cup match or indeed the Rugby World Cup final. The preparation will be the same. I will meet with the two coaches, I will go through the same pre-match routine, I will concentrate on the same areas, aim for consistency and most of all enjoy it."

Ranked 71st in the IRB World Rankings and earmarked as a union of great potential by the game's governing body, the FederaciĆ³n Mexicana de Rugby is making great strides on and off the field as interest in rugby grows within a sports-mad country.

Keen to pass on his advice to local match officials, Joubert took time out of his busy schedule of preparation to visit a university match in Mexico City to meet with some of the country's best up and coming referees to run a skills workshop.

"I have been impressed with the sheer appetite and enthusiasm for rugby here in Mexico. The match officials may not be full-time, but it was a privilege to spend time with the guys, who had taken time out of their jobs, to discuss refereeing, answer their questions and run a short technical session."

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