Jaco Peyper has not been selected to referee a Rugby World Cup semi-final after a photo emerged of him with Wales fans apparently mocking France’s sent-off lock Sebastien Vahaamahina.
The South African, who was overseeing his 50th Test, dismissed Vahaamahina during Wales’ incident-packed 20-19 last-eight win over Les Bleus for elbowing Aaron Wainwright.
France coach Jacques Brunel and Wales counterpart Warren Gatland backed the decision but the picture, which was widely circulated on social media, drew criticism and was investigated by World Rugby.
On Tuesday, it was confirmed Welshman Nigel Owens will officiate England versus New Zealand on Saturday, while France’s Jerome Garces is the man in the middle for Wales against South Africa a day later.
A World Rugby statement said Peyper has apologised.
“World Rugby can confirm that the match officials selection committee did not consider Jaco Peyper for selection this weekend,” the release read.
“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.”
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