South African rugby media have hit back at their New Zealand counterparts for questioning the appointment of Jaco Peyper to referee Saturday's Super Rugby final between the Crusaders and Lions in Johannesburg.
Peyper, a South African, was yesterday named as the man in charge of the showpiece match at a sold-out Ellis Park stadium - leading to an outcry from Kiwi fans and journalists after Peyper was responsible for at least one highly controversial call during last weekend's semifinal between the Lions and the Hurricanes.
Peyper yellow-carded Hurricanes first-five Beauden Barrett on the hour mark, for what the 37-year-old referee deemed a professional foul.
During Barrett's time in the sin-bin, the Lions managed to turn a 29-22 deficit into a 39-29 lead.
In a column for South Africa's supersport.com rugby editor Brenden Nel climbed into Kiwi media for their renewed calls for neutral refs.
"I had to remind a New Zealand radio show on Sunday night that nobody this side of the ocean said a word last year when Glen Jackson refereed the Lions-Hurricanes final and is a Kiwi?
"We accepted that Sanzaar rewarded the best ref in the competition at the time with the final and got on with it," Nel wrote.
"It has also been interesting to see that not only South Africans were surprised at the lack of respect that the Lions have been shown, but Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd echoed this after his side's loss on Saturday night."
Nel suggested the Lions' win against the Canes further "damaged New Zealand rugby's invincibility tag" - after the British and Irish Lions managed to draw the three-test series against the All Blacks.
Christo Buchner, for the Afrikaans website netwerk24.co.za, suggested the New Zealand media "already had their excuses ready if the Lions were to beat the Crusaders".
"That excuse is called Jaco Peyper," Buchner wrote.
Sport24's Lloyd Burnard admitted Peyper had favoured the Lions in the second half against the Hurricanes and "started winning the crowd over as more and more calls went the Lions' way".
"It was almost like Peyper checked his phone at the half-time break and saw the deluge of insults that had been directed towards him on social media."
Burnard, however, defended Peyper's ability calling him "one of the best in the world".
"Will Peyper go into that match [the final] looking to blow the Lions to a victory? Absolutely not.
"They [the Crusaders] will do their research and look to push Peyper as far as they can on the day, but they will not be making any excuses should they lose."
Lions fans, meanwhile, took to social media to have a go at those questioning Peyper's appointment.