Governing body Sanzaar has defended its decision to appoint South African referee Jaco Peyper to control the Super Rugby final between the Lions and Crusaders in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The move came despite Kiwi media calls to appoint a "neutral" referee - probably Australia's Angus Gardner - to handle the match between the New Zealand and South African heavyweights.
Peyper handled last weekend's semi-final between the Lions and Hurricanes and drew the ire of New Zealanders for his controversial sin-binning of Hurricanes five-eighth Beauden Barrett at a crucial point in the Lions' 44-29 comeback win.
Announcing Peyper's appointment for the final on Tuesday, Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos addressed the issue, saying he was the best referee and it followed policy of the past two years that such appointments be "merit-based".
He pointed out the policy meant that New Zealand referee Glenn Jackson controlled last year's final in Wellington, when the Hurricanes beat the Lions.
"Sanzaar stands behind the policy and believes the best referees should be available to officiate the best matches," said Marinos.
The assistant referees for the final will be Jackson and South African Marius van der Westhuizen with South Africa's Marius Jonker as television match official.