new zealand haka Craig Joubert will take charge of his first Rugby World Cup Final after the International Rugby Board (IRB) announced that the South African has been appointed to the New Zealand versus France Rugby World Cup 2011 Final at Eden Park on Sunday, October 23.

Joubert, who took charge of the New Zealand versus Australia semi-final on Sunday, becomes only the second South African to take charge of rugby’s showcase match following two-time Final Referee Andre Watson.

The appointments were made by the IRB’s Match Official Selection Committee in Auckland on Monday following a thorough review of performances during the knockout phase.

Joubert will be joined by Rugby World Cup 2007 Final referee Alain Rolland (IRE) and Nigel Owens (WAL) as Assistant Referees and Giulio De Santis (ITA) as Television Match Official in a highly-experienced match official team. Rolland is the reserve referee.

Meanwhile, Wayne Barnes will take charge of the Bronze Final between Australia and Wales at Eden Park on Friday (20:30). The Englishman will be supported by Assistant Referees Romain Poite (FRA) and George Clancy (IRE) with Shaun Veldsman (RSA) as Television Match Official.

IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien said: “The IRB Match Official Selection Committee was delighted with Craig and Alain’s performances in the semi-finals. Alain will perform the reserve referee role should he be required. On behalf of the Committee and all of the team, I would like to congratulate Craig, Wayne and all the guys on their selection, which is entirely on merit.

“We may be nearing the conclusion of what has been a truly superb Rugby World Cup, but our focus remains firmly on consistency, penalising the clear and the obvious and tackling the ‘big five’ areas.

“Collectively, we continue to work together as a unit and maintain a zero tolerance attitude towards infringements and foul play across the key areas of the Game. In that regard, I would also like to thank the coaches for their buy-in to the process during this Tournament.”

IRB Match Official Selection Committee Chairman David Pickering said: “It was a very tough selection process. The overall standard in performance by the match official team has been superb and I would like to thank the panel for their dedication, teamwork and professionalism over the past four years, not just the six weeks of the tournament. They can be proud of playing their full part in contributing to what has been an exceptional Rugby World Cup.”

Joubert said: “It is an enormous honour to get the Final and I would like to thank Paddy and the Committee for giving me the opportunity. The whole team has performed superbly, assisted each other and bonded over the course of the last six weeks, and I would like to thank them for their support and best wishes. I am now really looking forward to getting out there and enjoying the occasion.”