South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will have the honour of refereeing the opening match at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England as the hosts take on Fiji at Twickenham to kick off 44 days of unmissable rugby action.
Peyper, who is 35 and has refereed 20 internationals to date, has been appointed to the game on 18 September and he will be joined by assistant referees John Lacey of Ireland and Stuart Berry of South Africa while another South African, Shaun Veldsman, will be television match official.
World Rugby issued a crackdown on foul play that could endanger player safety during the World Cup this year with a directive to ensure the laws of the game are enforced more stringently by officials.
World Rugby’s laws representation group concluded recently that no new laws were required ahead of the tournament in England in September and October. But it identified three areas – foul play, the scrum and the maul – that required a stricter interpretation by referees, assistant referees and television match officials. That included the law governing high tackles, challenging for high balls, obstruction and grappling players’ necks at mauls, and crooked feeds at scrums.
The young Welsh official was refereeing a World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final, when the French decided to take out their frustrations (accidentally, mind) on him.
With the eyes of the world upon him (or two countries, at least), it started with a blow to the ankle.
Former St Mary’s player has already refereed in AIL and Women’s World Cup in France.
Earlier this year rugby history was made at Musgrave Park when Helen O’Reilly became the first woman to referee a men’s All-Ireland League game. O’Reilly took charge of the Ulster Bank AIL Division 2B game between Sunday’s Well and Kanturk.