Jaco Peyper’s appointment as the Springboks’ full-time national laws advisor comes at the right time, when the world champions will look to maintain their good disciplinary record of the last season or two – including the World Cup tournaments.
Bar a couple of yellow cards and penalties against them, South Africa were among the best-disciplined sides at the Rugby World Cup in France last year, and they’ve remained in the good books of referees who have officiated in their games.
In a move to keep showing their disciplined side on the field, Peyper has been added to the management and will look to bring a fresh dynamic to how they deal with officiating, keeping the relationship between the Boks, referees and World Rugby as spotless as possible.
It’s no secret that the relations between Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus and World Rugby have been under strain in the past, and the South Africans have done well to mend that relationship over the last couple of years with how they’ve conducted themselves since the former loose forward’s suspensions.
Erasmus himself has been working hard behind the screens as the director of rugby to get a former international referee into the set-up.
Before the World Cup triumph, South Africa tried to bring in the assistance of world-renowned former ref Nigel Owens, but he could not join their campaign due to other commitments.
Erasmus still had some valuable and fruitful discussions with Owens on how the Boks could handle certain situations with officials.
Peyper also played a role before the World Cup, but as he was still officiating at the tournament, the Springboks went without a former whistle-blower to help them.
Still, they did well, considering the pressure they were under in their quest to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.
Now, the retired Peyper, who officiated in 67 Tests, can fill that role when the world champions need him.
Peyper commanded a lot of respect on the field and as one of World Rugby’s elite referees of the last two World Cups, he brings with him excellent relationships with plenty of match officials around the world.
Most importantly, though, thanks to his spotless relationship with World Rugby, he will be able to take any concern of Erasmus and the Boks to the governing body’s match officials panel before and after matches, knowing which channels to work through directly.
It will not just continue improving the relations the Boks and SA Rugby have with rugby’s top decision-makers, but it will also help to keep Siya Kolisi and his team on the right side of referees – whether it’s during the Rugby Championship, international Test window or in a few years in Australia, when they will look to defend their crown once again.