South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will blow the first whistle on this year’s Rugby Championship as he takes charge of the Australia v New Zealand game in Sydney on with a total of nine officials having been appointed to matches this year.
The 36-year-old veteran of 31 test matches is one of three referees to have received two appointments in this year’s championship with the others being Jérôme Garcès of France and England’s Wayne Barnes. A fourth referee, Nigel Owens of Wales, will referee one game in the championship and the Bledisloe Cup match between Australia and New Zealand. Two referees – Angus Gardner of Australia and Mathieu Raynal of France – will take charge of their first Rugby Championship matches.
Following his first meeting as World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Chairman, Anthony Buchanan said: “With less than a year gone since Rugby World Cup, now is the time to develop fresh talent as we start to build towards RWC 2019 in Japan. Angus performed well in his debut Six Nations match this year and also in June when he refereed South Africa v Ireland in Johannesburg so his appointment to a Rugby Championship game is on merit and very pleasing for us.
“Likewise, Mathieu did well in the first South Africa v Ireland test in Cape Town so he also deserves his chance. At the moment, we need to be providing the best referees for the best games while also ensuring that when 2019 comes around we will have an established group of top-class, in-form officials with the necessary experience to perform at the highest level under pressure. Our focus continues to be clear and consistent decision-making and the highest standards of physical conditioning.”
The selection system allows for movement in and out of the panel based on form and rewards the top performers and young referees who have graduated through the performance pathway. Every performance is closely scrutinised and reviewed to ensure accountability. In addition, there is regular consultation with coaches with their feedback helping to inform selection decisions.
World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee, chaired by Anthony Buchanan, comprises former elite referees Lyndon Bray (SANZAAR), Joël Jutge (European Rugby Champions Cup) and World Rugby High Performance Match Officials Manager Alain Rolland. In addition, former international player and coach Nick Mallett serves as an advisor to the committee.
The committee meets four times a year and makes selections for the next international window with all performances reviewed in advance of selection.