Watch out Springboks, Romain Poite is heading your way once more!
It is highly likely that the Boks will get one of the four French referees at the Rugby World Cup, so in a roundabout way, they may be quietly pleased that they will encounter Poite during this year’s shortened Rugby Championship, as it gives them a chance to familiarise themselves with his style of officiating.
World Rugby announced their match official appointments on Wednesday for 63 Tests ahead of the World Cup in Japan, which starts on Friday 20 September.
The South Africans will open their tournament with the blockbuster clash against the All Blacks in Yokohama on Saturday, 21 September.
But in terms of the Rugby Championship, a reduced schedule will see the Boks take on the Wallabies at Ellis Park on 20 July, the All Blacks in Wellington a week later and Argentina in Salta on 10 August.
Kiwi official Paul Williams will be in charge in the Australia match, while Aussie referee Nic Berry will have the whistle in New Zealand.
But then they will have to handle Frenchman Poite – a man South African rugby fans love to hate, considering a number of controversial decisions in the past against the Boks – against Los Pumas.
The 43-year-old last ran into Rassie Erasmus’ team in November last year, when he was the man in the middle against Scotland at Murrayfield, which the Boks won 26-20.
Luke Pearce of England will officiate in a pre-World Cup friendly against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld on 17 August, while they will have Berry again for the last warm-up against Japan in Kumagaya on 6 September.
Poite will be joined by countrymen Jerome Garces, Pascal Gauzere and Mathieu Raynal as part of the 12 World Cup referee group, which contains a lone South African in Jaco Peyper.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) May 7, 2019