For me today settled the debate about Allain Rolland – it may be possible to disagree with the law, and I for one do, but he applied it consistently and did everything consistently last week. Craig Joubert did not today and becomes not only the second South African to referee a final, but the second to have had a large bearing on the result.

It took until the 63rd minute for him to penalise the Kiwi scrum – it should have happened earlier. Franks was dropping, albeit only slightly, to his knees to regain his posture on several occasions, McCaw managed to be offside at most scrum and was piling into the side of whichever poor French prop happen to be on the openside. The Kiwi’s pop up? So what. The scrum collapses, ceasing therefore to be a scrum? So what. Mr Joubert, some of us quite like watching scrummaging, and watching good scrummaging. England almost lost in 2003 because of an abysmal sequence of interpretations at the scrum, and in a one point game, failing to penalise the weaker scrum is criminal.

And the tackle… I lost count of the number of times a man in black was led in the way after a tackle or entered from the side, yet at no point were they penalised. Richie McCaw is an excellent flanker but referees tend to see an aura around him. Today he was on his feet and had every right to compete. Apart from the fact he’d entered from the side. Yet if Rolland, or any northern hemisphere referee had control of the whistle then I have a feeling we’d be celebrating a French victory (celebrating is probably a little strong).

Photo © Peter J Dean