Jaco was in­cred­i­bly naive – but he should not be banned from World Cup

Of­fi­cial should have known his fun with sup­port­ers would look bad on so­cial me­dia

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World Cup -

Jaco Peyper has been in­cred­i­bly naive in pos­ing for that photo with Welsh sup­port­ers, but I would be very dis­ap­pointed and sur­prised if it ended his in­volve­ment at the World Cup. I doubt he will be but, re­gard­less of whether he is sanc­tioned, I think this could be a wa­ter­shed mo­ment for how of­fi­cials in­ter­act with fans.

As a ref­eree, you are asked to pose for pic­tures all the time but, af­ter the uproar caused by this in­ci­dent, I fear of­fi­cials will be far more likely to say no in the fu­ture. A lot of ef­fort has been made to bridge the gap be­tween match of­fi­cials and sup­port­ers but, as we have seen, a re­quest for a photo has pro­voked a storm of neg­a­tiv­ity. Ref­er­ees do not want to seem aloof but, if I were still in­volved, I would def­i­nitely think twice now about join­ing a group of fans for a photo af­ter tak­ing charge of a big match.

So­cial me­dia has changed the game for of­fi­cials, as well as play­ers, and maybe we can­not be as open as we have been pre­vi­ously, which I find a very sad de­vel­op­ment.

Yes­ter­day, for ex­am­ple, I dug out a photo of me pos­ing along­side the French mas­cot be­fore they played the All Blacks in 1999, a game in which I was the touch judge. This was shortly be­fore kick-off and it was not an is­sue in the slight­est. I would def­i­nitely think twice be­fore do­ing it now, how­ever, which again I find quite sad.

That is not to say Jaco is in the right here – he has clearly tried to in­ter­act with the fans and have a joke with them, but he prob­a­bly should not have posed with his el­bow up. But, rather than pun­ish­ing him, World Rugby should in­stead just have a quiet, in­for­mal chat to un­der­line the fact he should be more care­ful and avoid those types of sit­u­a­tions.

The shame is that it has led some to look at his per­for­mance in the Wales-france game in a parochial light, de­spite the fact that to my mind he ref­er­eed very well and got the ma­jor de­ci­sions cor­rect. The red card for the el­bow by Se­bastien Va­haamahina – which he is mim­ick­ing in the photo – was about as bla­tant an of­fence as you can get. I also sup­port his call that the ball did not clearly go for­ward af­ter be­ing ripped by To­mos Wil­liams and col­lected by Justin Tipuric, lead­ing di­rectly to Ross Mo­ri­arty’s match-win­ning score.

All four of­fi­cials from the quar­ter-fi­nals did well and to my mind are still in the run­ning to do the show­piece match in a fort­night, in­clud­ing Jaco if South Africa are not in­volved. Ul­ti­mately, Jaco is a good ref­eree who has made a silly mis­take that, sadly, could change how of­fi­cials act in the fu­ture.

By­gone era: Jonathan Ka­plan, then an of­fi­cial, with a France mas­cot in 1999

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.