South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will referee Saturday’s Super Rugby final between the Lions and Crusaders in Johannesburg.
Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos, in a statement, confirmed Peyper’s appointment. He defended the decision, saying Peyper was considered the best referee in the competition and country origin was not an issue.
New Zealanders would disagree, just like South Africans would have disagreed with the appointment of a New Zealand referee for the final, as was the case a year ago when Glen Jackson refereed the final between the Hurricanes and Lions in Wellington, New Zealand.
‘The selection criteria for all match official appointments for the last two years follows a clear tournament policy… that such appointments be merit-based,’ said Marinos.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson is among those who wanted the ‘best neutral ref’.
Robertson told New Zealand’s Radio Sport: ‘I’d love a neutral referee. Look it’s not my decision, but in my opinion it’s more around what’s best for the game. Let’s get the best neutral ref, I just think it’s fair.’
Robertson said that there could never be accusations of bias with a neutral referee and that rightly or wrongly there was always pressure on a referee who officiated in his home country in a match involving a team from his own country.