Super Rugby

Covid-19 lockdown | What SA Rugby's most experienced referee has been up to

Jaco Peyper (Gallo Images)
Jaco Peyper (Gallo Images)

Top local referee Jaco Peyper has revealed what he's been up to during the Covid-19 national lockdown period.

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In an interview with SA Rugby's official website, Peyper said he has been juggling his time between an array of video conferences, family responsibilities, training and DIY tasks in and around his house.

"It is weird spending this much time at home, but between work and training it has been special to spend time with my family," said Peyper.

"I have two young children of three and seven years old and they have been keeping me very busy. Having said that though, I think my family will reach a point when they want life to return to normal because they know I need rugby," he quipped.

With video analysis being a crucial part of refereeing, the adjustment from time on the field to online conferencing has been an easy transition for Peyper.

He said he has been in regular contact with referee panels from SA Rugby, World Rugby and Super Rugby.

"When we are in competition mode we switch from game preparation to execution and then review from one week to another, but now that we are in lockdown there is more time to focus on the laws of the game and the interpretation thereof, which is essentially the foundation of rugby," Peyper said.

Peyper has also been keeping fit.

"One of the big positives in terms of our training is that each referee has received a custom-made training programme to suit our surroundings at home, so I feel fit and healthy.

"I never thought that I would be able to train in an area of 10 metres by five metres and wake up the next morning feeling as though I refereed a game.

"In the Free State we are blessed to have more space than most provinces in South Africa, so I have a nice spacious patch in front of my house, as well as a Wattbike, which has been great for my training."

Aside from family time, Peyper is happy to complete tasks at home.

"With lockdown forcing us to do things ourselves, I have surprised myself with a DIY skills I didn't know I had, so I have learned a few new things as well."

Peyper is the most experienced Super Rugby referee in history - last month's Chiefs v Hurricanes match in Hamilton was his 111th Super Rugby match and saw him surpass Steve Walsh's tally of 110.

He has also refereed 51 Tests and four Currie Cup finals.

Leading active Super Rugby referees:

Jaco Peyper (SA) - 111

Angus Gardner (Aus) - 77

Mike Fraser (NZ) - 63

Marius van der Westhuizen (SA) - 49

Ben O'Keeffe (NZ) – 49

Nic Berry (Aus) - 34

- SA Rugby

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