Jonathan Kaplan says Jaco Peyper was right to penalise the All Blacks for committing cynical infringements inside their 22 in Sydney last Saturday.
Peyper has been lauded by some and criticised by others for his performance in the opening Rugby Championship match.
The South African referee punished the All Blacks at the breakdown, and yellow-carded two of their players – Wyatt Crockett in the 39th minute and Beauden Barrett in the 70th. He also opted not to penalise the Wallabies scrum in the last quarter when the All Blacks were dominating.
'New Zealand were again guilty of marginal tactics under pressure,' Kaplan wrote on ratetheref.co.za. 'Are the referees finally beginning to understand what needs to be done to eliminate this constant in their game when they come under pressure in their 22m area?
'Jaco Peyper made mistakes in this game, no doubt, but needs credit for dishing out the cards when they were deserved. It engenders a whole lot of trust when the referee is prepared well, and is prepared to act. Having said that, New Zealand can feel very proud of being able to withstand the pressure at the end of the game despite a numerical disadvantage. How many others would have?'
But Peyper didn't get everything right, according to Kaplan.
'I’m not sure about some of Peyps' general accuracy in this fixture as there appeared to be some questionable calls at the breakdown and certainly Barrett was very unlucky to be given his marching orders as it appeared that the ball was not placed at the tackle, but left the hands of the ball-carrier and so it could well have been a case of general play and hence a play-on situation.
'It was a tough call to make as the outcome depends on slow-motion adjudication, and perhaps the referee just had enough of what he rightly or wrongly considered to be negative tactics. I still feel for New Zealand in this particular case.'
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