Jaco Peyper won’t referee a World Cup semi-final after mocking sent-off France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina in an image with Wales followers.
World Rugby says the South African recognises posing for the image “was inappropriate and he has apologised”.
Within the image Peyper’s elbow is raised right into a fan’s chin hours after he despatched off Vahaamahina for elbowing Aaron Wainwright in Wales’ quarter-final win.
That prompted World Rugby to research the post-match incident.
Vahaamahina announced his retirement a day after his dismissal, saying that call was pre-planned.
Welshman Nigel Owens will referee England v New Zealand on Saturday with France’s Jerome Garces answerable for Wales v South Africa on Sunday.
Frenchmen Romain Poite and Pascal Gauzere will help Owens, with South Africa’s Marius Jonker as tv match official (TMO).
Wayne Barnes of England and New Zealand’s Ben O’Keeffe will likely be Garces’ assistants with Ben Skeen of New Zealand the TMO.
French Rugby Federation vice-president Simon, a former France prop, stated on Twitter the Peyper image was “stunning”.
Peyper was officiating in his 50th Check match as Wales progressed to their semi-final towards South Africa in Yokohama on Sunday, three November.
Wales coach Warren Gatland stated he was conscious of the image of Peyper with Wales followers.
“He is had his 50th cap, he is posing with a number of followers and he is making a little bit of a joke in regards to the incident within the sport,” Gatland stated.
“How folks interpret that’s as much as them. Clearly, the best way issues are, folks wish to make mountains out of molehills.”