On Tuesday, South Africa’s Jaco Peyper was named as referee for the Super Rugby final between the Golden Lions and Canterbury Crusaders at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
The governing body SANZAAR retained their confidence in Peyper, mentioning that his appointment was based on merit even after he stood at the centre of controversy in last week’s semi-final between the Lions and Hurricanes.
According to AFP, Peyper sin-binned Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett at a key stage of their semi-final against the Lions in Johannesburg.
Replays suggested the punishment was harsh but the Lions took full advantage, scoring 17 points to seize the lead while Barrett was off the field in the second half.
Several experts have questioned the wisdom of using referees from the same country as one of the teams involved, with Crusaders coach Scott Robertson among those calling for the "best neutral ref", AFP adds.
In a statement, SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said: "The selection criteria for all match official appointments for the last two years follows a clear tournament policy... that such appointments be merit-based.
“This policy is written into the tournament protocols and appointments are made according to this policy on a weekly basis and is also the policy used for the finals last year as well as this year.
“This merit-based policy was reflected with the appointment last year of New Zealand referee Glen Jackson to referee the Hurricanes v Lions final in Wellington. SANZAAR stands behind the policy and believes the best referees should be available to officiate the best matches,” added Marinos.
2017 Super Rugby final match officials:
Match referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referee (1): Glen Jackson
Assistant referee (2): Marius van der Westhuizen
Television match official (TMO): Marius Jonker