European rugby bosses have confirmed that Jaco Peyper will be in charge of the Champions Cup final between Leinster and La Rochelle in Dublin on 20 May.
England’s Karl Dickson and Christophe Ridley will be his assistants, while another Englishman – Tom Foley – will act as the television referee.
“Peyper will make history when he becomes the first South African referee to officiate in a European final,” European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said in a statement.
The South African, who has been in action at two World Cup tournaments, is currently South Africa’s most experienced referee.
The Bloemfontein right-hander blew his 50th test match during the previous world spectacle in Japan when he was the man in the middle for the Wales/France quarter-final.
However, Peyper was criticized by World Rugby for posing for a photo with Welsh supporters after the match.
In the photo, the Red Dragon supporters were joking with France’s Sebastien Vahaamahina. Peyper chased the big Frenchman off the field with a red card during the match after elbowing Wales’ Aaron Wainwright.
Many rugby experts, including the former English fire-eater James Haskell, labeled Peyper’s semi-final absence as “outrageous”.
Peyper was also the man in the middle during the United Rugby Championship quarter-final between the Stormers and the Bulls at DHL Stadium; a showdown that the Capetians won 33-21.
Jake White – the Pretorianers’ director of rugby – was scratching his head about some of the decisions after the match.
Then a few England supporters were also dissatisfied with his decision to send Freddie Steward off the field with a red card in a Six Nations match against Ireland.
Towards the end of the first half, Steward was involved in a collision with Hugo Keenan and the Irish player suffered a concussion.
From Will Carling to Ben Stokes condemned the decision, while Joe Marler branded it ridiculous.
Still, former referee Paul Smith said that the South African whistleblower acted correctly; especially when you consider World Rugby’s regulations regarding head injuries.
“Jaco Peyper gave his fellow match officials and the TV listeners the perfect example of how officials are expected to behave in such a situation these days,” said Smith.
“Remember, he is not responsible for setting the rules. He just has to apply it.”
However, a committee later found that the collision did not justify a red card.
However, senior referee Nigel Owens also believes that the decision, all things considered and with Peyper in the middle of the tough rugby match, was ‘probably’ right.
Leave a Reply