South African referee Jaco Peyper has not been considered for selection for the Rugby World Cup semifinals after he posed for a controversial picture with Welsh fans after their quarter-final win over France.

Hours after the game in which he showed a red card to French lock Sebastien Vahaamahina for an elbow to the head of a Welsh player, Peyper landed in hot water for a picture alongside jubilant Welsh fans appearing to mock Vahaamahina's elbow shot.

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The 39-year-old official is seen smiling for the camera with his elbow raised, mimicking the game-changing red card.

The incident ended up costing France as Wales produced a comeback to book a place in the semifinal with a 20-19 victory.


Peyper's picture also cost him a chance to referee in the semifinals, with World Rugby announcing that he was not considered for this weekend's clashes.

"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."

Jaco Peyper's picture with Welsh fans has cost him a chance at making the semifinals. Photo / Twitter
Jaco Peyper's picture with Welsh fans has cost him a chance at making the semifinals. Photo / Twitter

Welsh referee Nigel Owens will take charge of the All Blacks' semifinal against England on Saturday night.

Owens will be assisted by French referees Romain Poite and Pascal Gauzere, while South Africa's Marius Jonker will be the TMO.

Jerome Garces has been named as the ref for Sunday's semi between South Africa and Wales, with Kiwi officials Ben O'Keeffe and Ben Skeen getting the nod as assistant referee and TMO respectively. Wayne Barnes is the other assistant referee.

Wales coach Warren Gatland had earlier come to Peyper's defence for the picture.

In a press conference ahead of Saturday's semifinal against South Africa, Kiwi Gatland said too much had been made out of it.

"He's [Jaco] had his 50th cap and he's posing with a few fans, making a bit of a joke about an incident in the game. How people interpret that is up to them. Obviously, the way things are and how PC everyone is, people like to make mountains out of molehills. And that's how I view the situation at the moment," Gatland said.


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