The South African Rugby Referees’ Association (SARRA) has published an article on their website claiming that South African referee Jaco Peyper was set to officiate the Rugby World Cup semi-final between England and New Zealand, rather than Nigel Owens.
In the article, the site criticises World Rugby's decision to remove Peyper from any involvement from the Rugby World Cup semi-finals after the referee was pictured with a group of fans in which he and others simulated Vahaamahina's back elbow strike.
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The article also criticises World Rugby's selection process in picking the 23 officials for the World Cup saying:
' As with all rugby selections, there were criticisms of the selections, especially the choice of five French referees and the omission of referees such as Glen Jackson, Marius van der Westhuizen and Mike Fraser.'
It went on to criticise World Rugby's release on the standards of officiating after the opening round of the competition:
The Peyper Suspension https://t.co/7tDh9t2omP— SA Referees (@SARefs) October 23, 2019
'Then after the first round of pool matches at the World Cup, World Rugby told the rugby world that its referees had not been up to scratch, thus inviting criticism of referees. To some it seemed like a strange bird fouling its own nest.'
According to the site, on Monday World Rugby chose Peyper for the semifinal match between England and New Zealand and on Tuesday morning they took him off the match and instead appointed Nigel Owens, saying: "World Rugby can confirm that the match officials selection committee did not consider Jaco Peyper for selection this weekend."
SARRA says that this kind of suspension would happen to a player guilty of foul play on the field before saying that this hardly qualified as foul play.
The organisation went onto compare the situation to that of a player's misconduct off the field:
"Did World Rugby suspend the players who seriously misbehaved in a bar/club at night? They did far, far worse than Peyper did.
Rugby is still a game which is played and therefore should be enjoyed. Referees are a part of that game. Surely nobody in his right mind would expect them to stride off like solemn undertakers to post-match solitude."