Jaco Peyper under investigation for "elbow" photo
A bit of craic or a bit too far?
Jaco Peyper was the man in the middle for the helter-skelter Quarter Final clash between France and Wales on Sunday. It wasn't exactly a quiet day at the office, as he dished out the first red card in a knockout game of the World Cup since Sam Warburton's against the French in the 2011 semi-final.
There was no controversy around the decision itself. Sébastien Vahaamahina smashed his elbow into Aaron Wainwright's jaw, and a quick TMO review saw the second row sidle meekly off the pitch while France's 9-point lead crashed around them.
The controversy came when Peyper was pictured with a group of Welsh fans seemingly mimicking the action and laughing along... It's not a good look.
Jaco Peyper dans un bel hommage à Vahaamahina. Photo de Fabien Heuzé pic.twitter.com/g5vo93413s
— Arnaud Coudry (@ArnaudCoudry) October 20, 2019
Perhaps understandably, there has been a negative reaction from the French RFU, with the vice-president of France Rugby tweeting his displeasure at the photo;
Cette photo si elle est vraie est choquante et des explications seront nécessaires.
— Serge Simon (@DrSergeSIMON) October 20, 2019
Inevitably, considering the high profile nature of the game and the French dissatisifaciton at Peyper's actions, World Rugby released a short statement confirming the incident was under investigation;
“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."
With referees yet to be assigned for the upcoming semi finals this weekend, Peyper may find himself down the pecking order because of the picture. Say that sentence fast ten times.