Rugby

Matt Williams Has A Very Interesting Take On Why Jaco Peyper Refereed All Blacks So Leniently

Matt Williams Has A Very Interesting Take On Why Jaco Peyper Refereed All Blacks So Leniently

As Eoin McDevitt, Simon Hick and Gerry Thornley discussed New Zealand's extremely physical approach to Saturday's game in Dublin on Second Captains, Matt Williams was on the other end of the line giggling to himself.

Their methods were no surprise to the former Leinster and Ulster head coach.

It's New Zealand, they've been doing it for 20 years, 40 years, 50 years! That's how they play. That's how they treat the game.

On Monday, both Sam Cane and Malakai Fekitoa were cited for their respective tackles on Robbie Henshaw and Simon Zebo. Only Fekitoa received punishment during the game for his tackle. There was certainly a feeling that referee Jaco Peyper was lenient in his assessment of the incidents.

Matt Williams believes that Peyper's leniency was a direct result of him being worried about what would be said about him by those involved with New Zealand rugby had he shown a red card to one of their players.

We got that game the other day, in my opinion, from an official who was fearful of his career and what sending off a New Zealand player would do his career.

Williams said that 'for want of a better word' New Zealand 'intimidate' officials and that they have 'buried careers' in the past.

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He cited Nigel Owens' performance in last month's Bledisloe Cup game at Eden Park as example of a referee being worried about what would be said about him post-match.

They put pressure the official. The way the officials are judged has a massive part to play in it. If New Zealanders come out and say 'you're not a good referee', that knocks your career out.

We forget - I'm not supporting this time, I'm just saying that we forget - the referees have a career as well. This to me has always been the biggest problem: how the referees are judged and rewarded with promotions within the game. How the referees are adjudicated is intrinsically wrong. Instead of getting good same games of rugby, they are looked at in terms of what did you miss or what did you get wrong.

You only have to look at Nigel Owens. Nigel is a fantastic referee, he refereed teams that I've coached for 10 years and I've got huge respect for him. He had a terrible game refereeing New Zealand against Australia in Eden Park. He got things really wrong. The best in the game are intimidated by what New Zealand will say about them post-match. They have buried people's careers and they have survived other people's careers. It is a very big flaw in our game that they can get away with this.

Williams added that an excessively physical approach is a tactic which New Zealand will continue to employ until someone stands up and shouts stop.

I don't think that they came out with an intent to have high tackles and to bash people. They came out super aggressive, super pumped up and wanted to bash Ireland up. They lost control. That's why the officials are there. That's why we have these things - to protect players.

New Zealand have been above the law for many years and I'm not surprised about what occurred.

Generation after generation of official - be it IRB or World Rugby, they don't do anything about it. It will continue until something is done about it. They can't come out and do that but they can and they have done it for a long time. Until someone stands up, they will continue to do it.

Earlier in the podcast, Williams produced an interesting though, admittedly, approximate stat which he says illustrates that New Zealand are being refereed differently to other teams.

I haven't got the exact stats but I know, I said on this programme a few years ago: for every 11 penalties, South Africa got a yellow card; for every 12 penalties, Australia got a yellow card. For New Zealand, this was around two years ago, three years ago between the [World] Cups. For every 43 penalties against New Zealand, there was a yellow card.

There's absolutely no doubt that New Zealand are being refereed differently.

You can listen to Matt Williams on Second Captains below.

See Also: Pick Your Ireland Team To Play Australia This Saturday

PJ Browne
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