Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Innovative Springboks and Ireland to trial new match official protocol — Peyper

The former Test referee seems to be thoroughly enjoying his return to rugby with the Boks, but it was a bit of a rocky start.


The Springboks and Ireland are looking to improve the standard of TV match officiating with an innovative new protocol that they will be trialing during their two-Test Incoming Series, according to former top referee and current Bok Laws and Discipline advisor, Jaco Peyper.

The standard of officiating in World Rugby and the intervention of the TMO has always been a contentious issue and Peyper explains that they are trying to improve on the current system, with this series between the top two ranked teams in the world the perfect testing ground.

“We are trialling the new television match official protocol. Thanks to Ireland for being willing to go into that space where we all recognise that we have to do something. So we have to get some data and trials and be innovative,” explained Peyper this week.

“Maybe after this series we say, no this is not the way, but at least we tested it. Ireland was willing to innovate with us so that has been positive.

“The protocol takes you back to the last attacking possession. So you can review technicalities up to the last attacking possession, excluding set pieces. Which in the past could only be two phases.”

Peyper continued: “This gives the TV match official a chance in real time to look at something and if there is a clear knock on or clear foot in touch you don’t have to let it play out and then go for a big referral.

“They (TV official) have to have factual proof and then they can just stop the officials and they can go back (to the infringement). So hopefully that will speed up that process.”

New laws

A number of new laws from World Rugby have also come into effect from the start of the current international season, but Peyper believes the Boks are more than confident with them and will have no problems in adapting.

“With the so-called Dupont law, it will create a lot more space if the kicking game is not spot on and you don’t have players working back to put you onside, because you can’t stay outside the 10m anymore and be put onside by anything the opposition does,” said Peyper.

“I think that’s the one in training that has had the biggest impact. In terms of not being able to choose a scrum from a free kick, referees have made it quite clear that they don’t want to give free kicks at scrum time if the call is 50-50, so they will order a reset and I don’t see that as having that big of an impact.”

Peyper seems to be thoroughly enjoying his return to rugby with the Boks, but it was a bit of a rocky start after he had to clear it with his wife.

“A few months ago I had a meeting with my wife and we agreed I was done with rugby and two weeks later we had to go to the same restaurant, have another bottle of wine and I had to explain to her I am back into rugby,” admitted Peyper with a smile.

“It has been quite a turnaround but when rugby is in your blood it is hard to stay away. She also loves rugby so it (her response) was pretty good.”

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