It was confirmed late last night that South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will be the man in the middle for this weekend’s Super Rugby final.
Johan Ackerman’s Lions take on the Crusaders in Ellis Park at 3 PM GMT on Saturday.
SANZAAR announced the Bloemfontein native would be the man in the middle for the clash despite the fact a South African team (the Lions) is up against a New Zealand-based side (the Crusaders).
The governing body’s CEO Andy Marinos explained that the decision was based purely on merit. As quoted by Sport24, he remarked:
“The selection criteria for all match official appointments for the last two years follows a clear tournament policy…that such appointments be merit-based.
“This merit-based policy was reflected with the appointment last year of New Zealand referee Glen Jackson to referee the Hurricanes v Lions final in Wellington.
The Zimbabwean added:
“SANZAAR stands behind the policy and believes the best referees should be available to officiate the best matches.”
Despite the precedent set last year, Crusaders fans, and indeed much of the rugby world, are still surprised at the appointment.
Jaco Peyper to ref the Super Rugby Final.. pic.twitter.com/zeHI4X7La5
— Steve Lenthall (@steve_l15) July 31, 2017
Jaco Peyper to ref the SR final in home country. Let's cross now to New Zealand … pic.twitter.com/hQYyXQZ7Wb
— iainpayten (@iainpayten) July 31, 2017
— Eoghan Foley (@EoghanFoley) July 29, 2017
Jaco Peyper reffing the Super Rugby final is an invitation for needless fizzing, especially if it's a close game.
— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) August 1, 2017
— Sportingbet (@sportingbet_sa) August 1, 2017
One has to feel for Jaco Peyper – on a hiding to nothing. Lions win he favored his own side; Saders do he bent over not to favor SA side
— Dan Retief (@Retief_Dan) August 1, 2017
Jaco Peyper to ref the Super Rugby final
Surely there is an Australian referee available
What else can they be doing?
— Paul Williams (@thepaulwilliams) July 31, 2017
Also officiating at Ellis Park will be linesmen Glen Jackson and Marius van der Westhuizen as well as TMO Marius Jonker.
The Crusaders are the narrow favourites with the bookies to take home the title. It’s the last Super Rugby final in the current structure of the league and it’s sure to be an absolute cracker.