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Super Rugby´s referees in Finals - Burger to Peyper

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There have been 13 referees appointed to referee Super Rugby Finals. This year the referee appointed is Jaco Peyper.

By Paul Dobson, Moonsport

It will be his second final, following on his appointment to the 2015 Final.

In September last year, the Super Rugby coaches for this year agreed that they did not want "neutral" referees but the best referees for their matches, regardless of the country where they belonged.

So it came to pass that the best four refereed the quarterfinals, the best two the semifinals and the best the final. "Best" is determined by the SANZAAR selection committee made up of two New Zealanders, two Australians and a South African. Coaches also have the opportunity to have their say.

In 2017, the following referees were appointed:

Quarterfinals: Angus Gardner, Marius van der Westhuizen, Jaco Peyper and Glen Jackson
Semifinals: Jaco Peyper and Glen Jackson
Final: Jaco Peyper

Again this year, the appointment to the Final has disregarded the referee's nationality, confident that all referees are impartial, in that sense neutral. 

For many years in Super Rugby, referees did not referee in their own countries or in matches involving teams from their own countries.

The first-ever Super Rugby Final was the Final of the Super 10 in 1993. Transvaal played Auckland in Johannesburg and the referee was Freek Burger of South Africa. After that (not because of that!) 'unattached' referees were used. That changed to 'merit appointments' in 2009 when Jonathan Kaplan of South Africa refereed the Final in South Africa between the South African Bulls and the New Zealand Chiefs.

Up till now, the 24 Finals have been refereed by 13 referees.

At least because South African teams have so often been absent from Finals (14 times out of 24) and the principle of appointing unattached referees applied, South Africans have refereed more Finals than referees from the other two countries - seven of them for 15 finals.

New Zealand teams have been missing from five Finals. Their five referees have been appointed to seven Finals. One of the Finals was when both Finalists were New Zealand teams and one when both Finalists were South African teams.

One referee is of hybrid nationality. Steve Walsh was a New Zealand referee when he refereed his first Final in 2007 but was an Australian referee when he refereed the 2012 Final.

Australian teams have been missing from nine Finals. One Australian has refereed a Final, when the Finalists were from New Zealand and South Africa. Then Walsh moved to Australia and became an Australian referee, giving Australian referees two finals.

André Watson has refereed most Finals, followed by Paddy O'Brien, Jonathan Kaplan and Craig Joubert. Watson, O'Brien and Kaplan have all retired as have Freek Burger, Glen Wahlstrom, Wayne Erick son, Tappe Henning, Mark Lawrence, Steve Walsh, Bryce Lawrence and Craig Joubert. That means that the only referees to have refereed a Final and remain active are Glen Jackson and Jaco Peyper.

All the referees who have refereed Finals have been Test referees. After all, it is a match of Test quality.

The only away team to win a final is the Crusaders, and they have done it three times - 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Final referees, by number of appointments

5 - André Watson
3 - Paddy O'Brien, Jonathan Kaplan, Craig Joubert
2 - Steve Walsh
1 - Freek Burger, Glen Wahlstrom, Wayne Erick son, Tappe Henning, Mark Lawrence, Bryce Lawrence, Jaco Peyper, Glen Jackson

Finals - Results & Referees

Super 10

1993: Transvaal vs Queensland, 20-17 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Freek Burger (South Africa)

1994: Queensland vs Natal, 21-10 at Ballymore, Brisbane
Referee; Glen Wahlstrom (New Zealand)

1995: Queensland vs Transvaal, 30-16 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)

Super 12

1996: Auckland vs Natal, 45-21 at Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Wayne Erick son (Australia)

1997: Auckland Blues vs ACT Brumbies, 23-7 at Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Tappe Henning (South Africa)

1998: Canterbury Crusaders vs Auckland Blues, 20-13 at Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)

1999: Canterbury Crusaders vs Otago Highlanders, 24-19 at Carisbrook, Dunedin
Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

2000: Crusaders vs Brumbies, 20-19 at Bruce Stadium, Canberra
Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

2001: Brumbies vs Sharks, 30-6 at Bruce Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)

2002: Crusaders vs Brumbies, 31-13 at Jade Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

2003: Blues vs Crusaders, 21-17 at Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

2004: Brumbies vs Crusaders, 47-38 at Canberra Stadium
Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

2005: Crusaders vs Waratahs, 35-25 at Jade Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

Super 14

2006: Crusaders vs Hurricanes, 19-12 at Jade Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

2007: Bulls vs Sharks, 20-19 at Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Steve Walsh (New Zealand)

2008: Crusaders vs Waratahs, 20-12 at AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)

2009: Bulls vs Chiefs, 61-17 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

2010: Bulls vs Stormers, 25-17 at Orlando Stadium, Soweto
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Super 15

2011: Reds vs Crusaders, 18-13 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

2012: Chiefs vs Sharks, 37-6 at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

2013: Brumbies vs Chiefs, 33-27 at Waikato Stadium
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

2014: Waratahs vs Crusaders, 33-32 at ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

2015: Highlanders vs Hurricanes, 21-14 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

Super 18

2016: Hurricanes vs Lions, 20-3 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

2017: Lions vs Crusaders at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa) advert