Jaco Peyper. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)
In the week before Super Rugby was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in March, South Africa’s Jaco Peyper became the most experienced referee in the competition.
By officiating in the match between the Chiefs and the Hurricane in Hamilton, Peyper blew in his 111th Super Rugby match and that saw him surpass the previous record of 110 held by Steve Walsh.
Former international referee Jonathan Kaplan believes that Peyper deserves all the plaudits for beating that record.
“Congratulations to him because I don’t think people do enough of this, but he broke the Super Rugby record for the most number of games refereed,” said Kaplan in an interview with Sport24.
“I don’t think people (always) realise how difficult it is to reach these milestones and how much consistency is required at the highest level.
“Although that record could be broken many times in the future, that doesn’t make it any less significant an achievement because it’s still a new benchmark.”
Kaplan says Peyper is one of the top three referees in the world at present.
“I think Jaco is carrying the flag magnificently,” he said.
“I find him a very straightforward, honest, hardworking, analytical referee and somebody that you can rely on. He’s world class and for me he is in the top three referees in the world currently.”
In 2019, Peyper was South Africa’s sole referee at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Kaplan, who retired in 2013 and officiated in 70 Tests and 107 Super Rugby matches, was on the referee panel at Rugby World Cups in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011.