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Former referee helping the Springboks 'find the grey areas' with new role

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Friday May 31, 2024

Former international rugby referee Jaco Peyper is rightly regarded as one of the very best referees of his era.

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Involved with refereeing at the highest level for over a decade, the man from Bloemfontein called time on his career earlier this season.

Not one to stand idle, Peyper wasted no time in diving back into the deep end or professional rugby when Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus came knocking.

Renowned for his drive to secure any edge he can, Erasmus has brought in the vastly experienced Peyper as a member of his coaching staff.

Discussing his new position, Peyper was clearly exstatic when chatting to SuperSport presenter Matt Pearce.

“It’s obviously a new world for me sitting on this side, but it’s really exciting.” Peyper said.

Discussing his exact role with the team, the referee offered up some of the areas that would fall under his domain.

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“I think it will be clearly defined over the next few months and developed but the first expectation is for me to maintain those relationships with the World Rugby referees and actually build it out so we have good relations and we never have to go into a space where communication is cut down.

“We always want to be in the best position where lines are open, so that’s one of the expectations.

“The second responsibility is to make sure that our players are smart and they know the law so they know where they can find the grey areas.”

On the decision to call time on his career with the whistle, Peyper said although an untimely injury brought forward his exit from the officiating world, the decision had already been made that the 2023/24 season would be his last.

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“The last year there’s been a period where you think about it a lot and I sat with my wife and we had a few glasses of wine and you talk about things and when is enough, enough and when’s the time for the next challenge?”

Whilst Peyper knew he would be stepping away from his former role, this new position caught him off guard somewhat as he said,  “So this wasn’t on the cards and I informed the SA Rugby management that they have to start planning because I’m definitely going to step away and then the injury came and it accelerated that by about two or three months otherwise I would have ended after the season.

“I got a phone call and a few teams meetings later, Rassie and Charles said that they’ve got this idea and they think I can play a role and bring benefits to the Springboks.

“So I was really chuffed with that and It didn’t take me too long to consider it and, yeah, here we are.”

Whilst impartiality is part of the gig with being a referee, Peyper never hid that he is proudly South African, “Look, I grew up green and gold.” He said.

“This is the only team I could support my whole life because I could never referee them.

“Any franchise, any other club team or any other international team you can’t support because you have to be you know very objective.

“But the Springboks is the one team that I could sit on my couch and give my mates a bit of stick on how they referee, and the Springboks are really the one team that I passionately want to win.”

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