FS referees take charge of Currie Cup finals

Jaco Kotze (right) running along with the Toyota Cheetahs centre/ winger, Carel-Jan Coetzee, during a warm-up session against the Griffons. Both Kotze (who is a biokineticist by profession), and Coetzee attended Hoërskool Jim Fouché. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The Currie Cup Premier Division final will be contested on Saturday afternoon between Western Province and the Sharks at Newlands in Cape Town, and while it is not one of the teams from the Free State competing, there will still be representation by one of the most important men on the field, the referee.

Jaco Peyper of Bloemfontein will be taking charge of the Currie Cup final for a fourth straight year, and seeing that he is one of the top referees in the world, it comes as no surprise.

Apart from Peyper, two more referees from the Bloemfontein will be in action this weekend during the U19 and U21 finals respectively. The young Griffin Colby has been appointed as the referee for the U19 match between the Sharks and Blue Bulls, while the former HSBC Sevens World Series referee and all-round nice guy, Ben Crouse, will take the whistle in the U21 final between the Blue Bulls and the Golden Lions.

This is a huge achievement for the trio and the Free State, however, one cannot forget about Jaco Kotze, who was in charge of the 2018 Craven Week “final” between Western Province and the Sharks at Paarl Boys’ High School in the Cape.

The manager of the Free State referees, Skillie le Roux, told Bloemfontein Courant that the four have done the region proud.

“It is definitely a big honour for Griffin (Colby) to be allocated the slot for the final. I am very glad for him and it is a testament to all the hard work that he has put in during trying circumstances. Jaco (Kotze) also refereed the Craven Week final this year, and he is very hard working individual as well. I think that for him to have gotten that game was also just reward. One doesn’t also get these kinds of rewards, and one doesn’t always see what goes into it. There is a lot of hard work happening behind the scenes for this to happen.

“This will also be very good for our sponsors, as it will be a good return on their investment. Ben (Crouse) officiated the annual derby between Grey College and Paul Roos this year. The feedback that we received for his handling of the game has been exemplary. We have received this feedback from all the games the Free State referees took charge of.

“These appointments don’t just happen, there is always a good reason that this happens. It’s about your performance during the year, and we are grateful for the opportunity to have us taking charge of the finals.”

Next year’s U18 Craven Week at Grey College in Bloemfontein will be another fantastic opportunity to show the country why Free State referees can be considered to be the best. – MORGAN PIEK