SA Ref Peyper back in the spotlight
REACTION: Chiefs boss Warren Gatland has called into question two calls made by referee Jaco Peyper which impacted his side’s 24-27 injury-time defeat to the Hurricanes in Hamilton on Friday.
A Jordie Barrett penalty four minutes after the full-time hooter sounded handed the Hurricanes a last-gasp win over the New Zealand conference leaders, but Gatland was dismayed by the way in which the penalty was awarded to the visitors.
After toiling away near the halfway line for 35 phases, the Chiefs were eventually pinged for a dangerous tackle by reserve prop Reuben O’Neill on Hurricanes reserve loose forward Vaea Fifita.
While Barrett used the infringement to slot a long-range penalty to secure victory for his side, Gatland believes the call was unwarranted, despite Peyper working in tandem with the TMO to help make his decision.
“I thought it was a bit harsh,” Gatland said.
“It looked to me like Reuben’s got his left arm up and trying to attempt a tackle, it doesn’t look like it’s no arms.
“And you’ve got to question whether the Hurricanes player’s lifted his leg and led with his knee as well.
“But that’s rugby, you’ve got to take the decisions of the referee and accept that.”
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Additionally, Gatland thought that Hurricanes co-captain TJ Perenara should have been sent off for a dangerous tackle on Chiefs wing Solomon Alaimalo in the second half.
As Alaimalo broke away from inside his own half, a solid covering tackle by Perenara appeared to show his shoulder connect with Alaimalo’s head, which many referees would deem to be a red card-worthy offence.
However, Perenara was only shown a yellow card, and returned to the field 10 minutes later to help steer his side to victory.
“You can make your own judgement on that,” Gatland said of the indiscretion. “He [Perenara] seemed pretty happy with the yellow card to me when he’s seen the replay.”
The result leaves the Chiefs at the top of the New Zealand conference and second overall, but they could well be overtaken by the likes of the Crusaders, Brumbies and Stormers this weekend.
As for the Hurricanes, the victory pushes them into the top eight of Super Rugby, which is where they will stay for the remainder of the round.