Mention the names Bryce Lawrence and Romain Poite and South African rugby supporters bristle with anger. Those two referees cost the Springboks a place in the 2011 World Cup semi-final and a place in rugby folklore in Auckland 2013. Their litany of errors that ruined two great contests against Australia and New Zealand respectively will never be forgotten. And they are unlikely to be forgiven either.
In South Africa there is a perception that when it comes to refereeing decisions, the Springboks are generally hard done by. There certainly is a body of evidence to support that assertion, although rugby's complex laws and numerous grey areas surrounding law interpretation make it an almost impossible task for match officials to be right all of the time.
This weekend in the semi-finals of Rugby World Cup 2019, in the biggest match the Boks have played in four years, Frenchman Jerome Garces will control the game. He has the potential to become another Poite or Lawrence.
Inevitably, someone had to do it but if the Boks had a choice (and they didn't), they would've opted for someone else.
We'll get to Garces' stats in a moment, but it's worthwhile remembering that coaches and...