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Former Springbok coach Jake White is far from impressed with the decision to appoint Jaco Peyper as referee for this weekend’s Super Rugby final.
The move came despite NZ media calls to appoint a “neutral” referee such as Australia’s Angus Gardner to handle the match between the New Zealand and South African Super Rugby heavyweights. Last season New Zealander Glen Jackson was in the middle for the Hurricanes versus Lions final with many believing neutral is the only way to go.
Announcing Peyper’s appointment for the final on Tuesday, SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos addressed the issue, saying he was the best referee and it followed policy of the past two years that such appointments be “merit-based”.
SANZAAR stands behind the policy and believes the best referees should be available to officiate the best matches,” said Marinos.
White, writing in his column for All Out Rugby, said:
“In a sport where coaches get hired and fired on results, and television rights are in the millions of dollars, how do we not have a neutral referee in these games?”
“I’m not saying Peyper or any other referee is cheating, but the competition opens itself up to criticism by appointing officials with national ties to one of the teams. If Peyper makes any decision against the home team, he’s vilified, and when he blows in favour of the home team, people ask questions.
“I look at Super Rugby and I ask why we don’t have money to fly an Australian referee to South Africa for the semi-finals. The Hurricanes went from 22-3 up to losing the semi-final on a massive yellow-card decision. When you look at that decision in the context of a competition where a lot of players weren’t yellow-carded for incidents that were worse than that, I can see how that’s a bitter pill for the Kiwis to swallow, and how Peyper’s nationality is an easy target.”
“Do you think New Zealand will ever play in a World Cup final with a Kiwi ref? If the answer is no, then how can we accept it in Super Rugby?”
The assistant referees for the final will be New Zealand’s Glenn Jackson and South African Marius van der Westhuizen with South Africa’s Marius Jonker as television match official.