Tuesday 6 December 2016

'We had a eunuch refereeing the match' - Neil Francis on the controversial performance of Jaco Peyper

Published 22/11/2016 | 10:33

While the Ireland team has now turned their attention to Saturday's curtain-closing autumn clash with Australia, the controversy surrounding Saturday's loss to the All Blacks hasn't fully abated.

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With New Zealand stars Sam Cane and Malakai Fekitoa facing possible bans for their dangerous tackles, the match's immense physicality has come under the microscope.

Sunday Independent journalist Paul Kimmage was strongly critical of the violence on show, telling Matt Cooper on The Last Word on Today FM that rugby is in 'serious trouble' if they don't stamp out high and reckless challenges.

Read more: 'The game is in serious trouble, because this is a disgrace' - Paul Kimmage on bruising Ireland v All Blacks clash

Kimmage's colleague Neil Francis was also on the show and he addressed the performance of both the world champions and Jaco Peyper, the South African official in charge of Saturday's encounter.

"There was an edge and a darkness to New Zealand's performance," Francis said.

"It was disturbing to win at all costs and that's what they did, they stepped over the line. I was speaking to some of them today and they were looking for some reassurance that they hadn't stepped but it hadn't bothered them that they did."

Francis felt that Steve Hansen's side exploited Peyper's interpretation of the tackle area, with the ex-Ireland second row reserving some particularly pointed criticism for how the referee handled the high tackles.

"It was brilliant the way they [the All Blacks] did it," Francis said.

"They looked at who the referee was and said we have a weak referee here. They would see a lot of Jaco Peyper and they looked and said, okay, we can take liberties here because this guy has no balls. Basically, we had a eunuch refereeing the match on Saturday."

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