Jaco Peyper had not been considered for the Rugby World Cup semi-finals after posing with fans mimicking a key red-card incident in a quarter-final he refereed, World Rugby said.
Nigel Owens would officiate Saturday’s England-New Zealand match. Frenchman Jerome Garces will take charge of the second semi-final between the Welsh and South Africa at Yokohama on Sunday.
“World Rugby can confirm that the match officials selection committee did not consider Jaco Peyper for selection this weekend,” World Rugby said in a statement.
Wales beat France 20-19 on Sunday after Peyper sent off French lock Sebastien Vahaamahina for elbowing Aaron Wainwright in the face when France were leading 19-10 early in the second half.
In a media posting, Reuters said it was not an unusual occurrence for match officials to mix socially with fans after rugby internationals. However, under tournament rules referees are not allowed to talk to the media.
Said Wales coach Warren Gatland, “He’s had his 50th cap and he’s posing with fans,” he said “The way things are and how PC everyone is, people like to make mountains out of molehills. That’s how I view it.” World Cup-winning former England coach, Clive Woodward, also defended the South African “100 percent”. “It’s ludicrous that the so-called incident is being investigated in any way and for those in the French camp kicking off I would say you have infinitely more serious things to be considering,” he wrote in Britain’s Daily Mail. “Such as your shambolic coaching and persistent ill-discipline on the pitch which for decades now has seen France under perform.”
But that is how the French operate. Bad sportsmanship and bad losers. Watch the French referee targeting South Africa on Saturday. – Ed