- South African referee Jaco Peyper has come under fire on social media
- Peyper was photographed posing with Welsh fans after the Wales vs France #RWC2019 quarter final match
- The local ref appeared to be imitating the French lock he sent off with a yellow card during the match
Jaco Peyper, South Africa's only referee in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, has come under fire over a photo of himself with Welsh fans, appearing to mock Sebastien Vahaamahina.
Peyper seems to be emulating Vahaamahina, who he sent of with a yellow card during the Wales vs France Rugby World Cup 2019 quarter final match on Sunday.
France led the majority of the game but ended up slipping the 12-point lead to lose 20-19 to the Welsh side.
The photo of Peyper and the Wales rugby fans surfaced online and has since sparked an international outcry - one the World Rugby heard loud and clear.
According to SA Rugby Mag, the governing body revealed in a statement that it has launched a probe into the photo:
"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 [Sunday] quarter-final between Wales and France in Oita," the governing body said in a statement. "It would be inappropriate to comment further while we are establishing the facts."
Needless to say, the photo sparked controversy on social media and rugby fans were left debating whether or not Peyper's action was harmless fun or unacceptable behaviour from the SA referee.
Joining fans who were not impressed by the photo was France Rugby vice-president Serge Simon, who said if the image was real it would be "shocking".
Joseph Noone, who goes by the Twitter handle @noone_joseph, commented:
"Brings the game into disrepute! Totally inappropriate for a referee to pose like this!"
Tim O'Connor, a lawyer who goes by the Twitter handle @timoconnorbl, added:
"This is not wise. Not wise at all. Fine for us; we’re fans. A professional referee should have more cop-on than to be seen like this."
Another tweep, @ghostsofmerthyr, wrote:
"I'm Welsh and even I can see that this is a stupid thing for a top ref to get involved in."
Twitter user, @cdsportsparis, commented:
"Is that a joke? It can’t be true. That is totally inappropriate and disrespectful. This referee must be suspended for a long time. #FRAvWAL #FRAGAL."
In more Rugby World Cup-related news, Briefly.co.za reported previously that the Springboks managed to tackle Japan out of the tournament, securing a spot in the semi-finals.
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