France unhappy at the South African referee appearing to replicate red card incident with Wales supporters

Jaco Peyper causes controversy with fans photo

Jaco Peyper will play no part in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals after a controversial photograph of the referee surfaced on social media which appears to show him replicating the red card incident in the quarter-final between Wales and France.

The South African referee was in charge of that last-eight tie in Oita and sent off France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina after he elbowed Aaron Wainwright in the face during a maul, early in the second half.

Related: Wales 20-19 France Match Report

A few hours after the final whistle it then seems that Peyper posed with a group of Wales fans and pretended to elbow one of them. Some of the supporters look to be mimicking the elbow incident too.

You can see the photo here…

While France had no complaints about the red card in the quarter-final, they are not happy about this photo.

French rugby federation vice-president Serge Simon tweeted to say: “This photo if it is true is shocking and explanations will be necessary.”

Regardless of whether Peyper was simply sharing a light-hearted moment with a few rugby supporters, the photo does not reflect well on the referee and he has since missed out on the chance to feature in the semis.

With refereeing appointments announced for the World Cup semi-finals, World Rugby said of incident: ” World Rugby can confirm that the match officials selection committee did not consider Jaco Peyper for selection this weekend.

“Peyper recognises that a picture of him with Wales fans, which appeared on social media after the Wales versus France quarter-final, was inappropriate and he has apologised.”

Related: Referees for the Rugby World Cup semi-finals

This goes alongside their initial comments, when on Monday World Rugby told Associated Press: “World Rugby is aware of a picture on social media of referee Jaco Peyper with a group of Wales fans taken after last night’s quarter-final between Wales and France in Oita. It would be inappropriate to comment further while we are establishing the facts.”

It remains to be seen if the South African will play any part in the bronze final or final.

England face New Zealand in the first of the semi-finals in Yokohama on Saturday while Wales take on South Africa at the same venue on Sunday.

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