Warren Gatland believes Saturday’s potential series clinching Test in Melbourne will be controlled by "the No 1 referee in the world".
Having seen his side move into a strong position with their 23-21 win over the Qantas Wallabies in Brisbane last weekend in a game refereed by New Zealand’s Chris Pollock, it will now be South African Craig Joubert’s whistle that will determine the Lions’ destiny on Saturday.
Joubert was in charge of the 2011 Rugby World Cup final and is well known to Gatland and his Welsh contingent. He was the referee for the final game of the Welsh Grand Slam campaign against France in 2013 and was the man who oversaw a record 18 kicks at goal in the win over Scotland at Murrayfield earlier in the year.
“Craig Joubert is a very experienced referee. We’ll put the first Test behind us and it will probably be good for him having been an assistant referee in that match, on the sideline, to know about the pace of the game,” said Gatland.
“I thought he was good in terms of the support he gave the referee and I’m looking forward to the No 1 referee in the world doing next Saturday. We'll meet with him just to get an insight into how he's going to referee the breakdown.
“We felt there were a couple of off-the-ball incidents last weekend – we felt Jonathan Davies was taken off the ball with a charge by someone who changed his line and as a result of that there's been a turnover and Australia received a penalty straight after that too.
“We've got a few things we want sorted and I presume Robbie's got a few things from the Australian point of view as well. It's just part of the game at the moment.
“When you’ve got as good a goal-kicker as we’ve got, you have to be a bit more direct and not try to play so wide because he called ‘advantage over’ very quickly. The referees sometimes play a lengthy advantage and that is one of the inconsistencies in the game.
“A few players came off the field feeling a bit frustrated. They found it difficult (to understand) a couple of times when they were penalised. But that's behind us now and we’re confident next weekend with Craig Joubert.”
The Australians still remember Joubert for other reasons. He was the man in the middle when they were beaten 20-6 in the World Cup semi-final by New Zealand.