The Rugby World Cup final went without any major incidents which was worth celebrating for French referee Jerome Garces.

Garces became the first Frenchman to take charge of a World Cup final as South Africa claimed a third title with an impressive 32-12 victory over England on Saturday.

As he was handed a medal at the official post-match presentation, the 46-year-old kissed the medal before lifting it up to the sky.

Referee Jerome Garces celebrates with his medal after the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final. Photo /Getty
Referee Jerome Garces celebrates with his medal after the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final. Photo /Getty

Garces was then helped by assistant referees Romain Poite and Kiwi Ben O'Keeffe, lifted up to the crowd so he could see his family in the stands.


He dished out 18 penalties in the final, the same number of times Nigel Owens blew his whistle in the 2015 final. However the England-dominated crowd began to boo Garces after several scrum penalties.

Despite being in charge of the final, Garces didn't take home the top referee award at last night's World Rugby awards. Englishman Wayne Barnes was named referee of the year following his 90th test in charge in the All Blacks' bronze final win over Wales.

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Garces' joy at the post-match ceremony was a stark contrast to runners-up England.

Distraught England pair Maro Itoje and Kyle Sinckler refused to wear runner-up medals around their necks following a devastating defeat.

The loss was a heavy fall from grace for England, who last weekend, against the All Blacks, played with belief, skill and without fear. But last night they were nervous, they second-guessed themselves, and even appeared a little fearful of going into contact.

Star lock Itoje had one of his worst games for England, while giant prop Sinckler ​also had a horror night, going off injured with just three minutes played after appearing to collide with Itoje's elbow.

Sinckler allowed World Rugby boss Bill Beaumont – a former England and British Lions captain – to place the medal around his neck, but immediately removed it. Itoje, meanwhile, shook hands with Beaumont before gesturing that he didn't want to wear the medal and grabbing it in his hands as he trudged off the field.