South African Jaco Peyper to referee Rugby World Cup opening match

South African Jaco Peyper to referee Rugby World Cup opening match

World Rugby has announced that South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will referee the Rugby World Cup 2023 opening match between hosts France and New Zealand at Stade de France on 8 September.

Dublin , Ireland – 18 March 2023; Referee Jaco Peyper speaks to Owen Farrell of England, right, and Freddie Steward, second from right, after showing Freddie Steward a red card during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Jaco is the third South African after Jonathan Kaplan and Craig Joubert to handle 50 assignments having passed the 100 mark in 2019, This is a big nod to the fairness and brilliance of the proudly South African referee.

He began his career in 2011 when he officiated the match against Kenya and Zimbabwe which say Zimbabwe beat Kenya 21-26.

He has officiated two world cups in 2015 and 2019 making it his third appearance at the global show pieces.

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND – JULY 09: Referee Jaco Peyper blows his whistle during the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Ireland at Forsyth Barr Stadium on July 09, 2022 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

However, he is not a debutant to opening matches having refereed the England versus Fiji opener at Rugby World Cup 2015 at Twickenham

Marius Jonker, a fellow South African, will serve as Television Match Official (TMO) alongside Jaco Peyper.

Referee Jaco Peyper gestures during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between Wales and France at the Oita Stadium in Oita on October 20, 2019. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

When asked what the best thing about being a referee is, Jaco said he gets the best seat in the house!

“A lot of great things! If I had to pick … the best seat in the house, developing your performance and character under pressure over time, and making so many lifelong friends from different cultures around the world.” – Jaco Peyper

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