Jaco Peyper reaches a century this weekend – a century of Super Rugby matches refereed.
He will not be leaping in the air or swinging his whistle aloft or hugging his assistant referees, but he has every reason to be proud of such an achievement as only three referees have done so before him – Steve Walsh, Jonathan Kaplan and Craig Joubert. Amongst Peyper’s Super Rugby matches are two finals – in 2015 and 2017.
Peyper, an attorney in Bloemfontein when he is not swanning about the world refereeing, went to the great Grey College and then the university in Bloemfontein. Now 39, Peyper started refereeing when he was 20. In 2009 he refereed his first Super Rugby match. He has referee well over 40 Tests, including the opening Test between the All Blacks and the B&I Lions in 2017, and many Currie Cup matches, including four finals. He has been South Africa’s Referee of the Year three times, and surely he is a certainty to referee at this year’s World Cup in Japan.
Looking forward to the match in Christchurch on Saturday when the Crusaders play the Brumbies, Peyper said: “I just love rugby and I’m so grateful today when I reflect on the last 10 years refereeing in this competition, all the experiences lived and friendships forged.
“The key to longevity is not just how good you are at refereeing, but your support structure. I have been fortunate to have had world class support from so many people, but none more so than my wife Zenobia, our two little girls and family. I wish my dad were still alive to see this day, as he would have been so proud.
“Super Rugby is unique in that it requires versatility in refereeing skills, from tough local derbies to managing different styles of play from teams in other SANZAAR countries. Every week is a great challenge in understanding the fixture on that day, but loving every minute still and striving for that perfect game, one day.”
All referees will want to congratulate this outstanding modern referee and wish him well.