In a World Cup where officials have come under a lot of criticism, even from World Rugby, Luke Pearce has been praised for his refereeing of South Africa’s contest with Canada on Tuesday.  


The English official handed Canadian lock Josh Larsen a red in the first half for a shoulder charge to the head of Springboks prop Thomas du Toit. However, it wasn’t necessarily the decision to give a red card which was praised, as it was unanimously deemed to be a red, but his handling of the situation. 

Pearce was thorough in his decision-making and was not intent on rushing the decision. While the television match official seemed reluctant to call it a red, as there was initially contact to the shoulder, the referee was forthright in his conviction. 

When some referees have been keen to downgrade cards to a yellow at times this RWC for fear of a backlash, Pearce didn’t shirk in his decision. The manner in which he explained the call – saying “I’m sure you’re aware of the current climate” – only justified why he made the right choice. 

In light of this decision, he has been praised as the best referee in the competition by fans on Twitter, which is rare praise as referees have been lambasted by fans over the past few weeks for a multitude of reasons, including allegations of bias. This is what was said:



While some red cards and tackles have been debatable at times in this RWC, this was a clear red in Kobe and a senseless act of foul play by Larsen. Similar to Italy’s red card for Andrea Lovotti against the Springboks last week, the offence occurred on South Africa’s line. 

Not only were Canada in the ascendency, but this was also simply wanton violence that was not needed. This would probably have been a red card on most occasions, but with World Rugby seeking to clamp down on any contact to the head over the past couple of years and during this RWC, this sanction had to be given. 

WATCH: RugbyPass gets the fans’ verdict following South Africa’s easy win over Canada

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