Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks fans create petition to remove Jérôme Garcès from Wales semi-final

Angry Springboks fans are demanding the removal of referee Jérôme Garcès from taking charge of Sunday's Rugby World Cup semi-final with Wales.

South African supporter Jared Milner has created an online petition calling on World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper to remove Frenchman Garcès from the match.

"This petition serves to stop rugby referee, Jérôme Garcès, from refereeing the Rugby World Cup semi-final match between South Africa and Wales," Milner wrote. 

"This petition has surfaced after the shocking moment that Garcès was announced to be in charge of a South African game." 

Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks fans create petition to remove Jérôme Garcès from Wales semi-final

More than 5800 people have signed the petition as fans are fearful of the Springboks' abysmal record when Garcès has taken charge of their games, winning four of fourteen.

The Springboks have never beaten the Welsh under Garcès, having lost their only previous encounter 24-22 in Cardiff in 2017.

On top of that, they've never won a World Cup match with Garcès, who was also the referee when the Springboks famously lost to Japan in Brighton.

On Wednesday, Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said the team has no problems with Garcès controlling the match, calling him on one of the best referees in the game. 

"When it comes to World Rugby at the World Cup, they have high standards. So, the top two refs in the play-offs - we believe they are the best refs to manage the semi-finals.

"We are just focusing on being on the good side on the day. Discipline is a big thing for us, and the only yellow card we've received was 'Beast' [Tendai Mtawarira) against Japan.

"He is just an aggressive person – it's not like Beast was trying to cheat the game or doing anything illegal. It was a matter of half-a-second where he was going for an aggressive tackle.

"When it comes to Jérôme Garcès, he is one of the best refs at the moment. The fact that he has been given a semi-final, we might also see him in the final, as France are out of the competition.

"We respect him as a ref and will try to make sure we are on his good side, and let him do his job.

Flanker Francois Louw echoed Stick's comments. 

"I don't think anyone ever goes out – player or referee or match official – to purposefully make errors," he said. 

"But it is a high-intensity game played at high speed, and things do get missed and errors do get made.

"So, from that perspective, we've had him before. Hopefully, we know how to play within his outlook of the game, and put together a performance accordingly."

Join us at 10pm Sunday for live updates of all the South Africa v Wales Rugby World Cup semi-final.