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World Rugby accused of political correctness gone mad for punishing Peyper

By Josh Raisey
France's Sebastien Vahaamahina receives a red card from referee Jaco Peyper in Oita (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Following the decision not to consider referee Jaco Peyper for the World Cup semi-finals this weekend after he featured in a picture taken with Welsh fans after last Sunday’s quarter-final in Oita, World Rugby have received some heavy criticism from fans on social media. 


The South African referee, who would have been in contention to referee England’s contest with the All Blacks, has been overlooked after being seen in a photo with fans mimicking Sebastien Vahaamahina’s elbow which resulted in Peyper sending the lock off during France’s loss to Wales. 

Fans have said the photo was in poor judgement by the referee but only that, insisting it didn’t indicate any malice or bias. This was the clearest red card of the World Cup so far, an act of wanton violence by the second row against Aaron Wainwright. 

The post-game picture was just a case of a referee interacting with fans and the aftermath – according to fans on Twitter – is an example of “political correctness” as Peyper’s pose was no more than a joke. There is no denying that Peyper should not have done this, but it is hard to see what the photo indicates. 

Had he made light of the contentious rip by Tomos Williams in the denying minutes of the game that led to Ross Moriarty’s try, then the reaction from World Rugby would be justified as any referee would get in trouble for joking about such controversial decisions.

(Continue reading below…)

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But the dismissal of the Frenchman was in no way controversial and fans feel there was an unnecessary overreaction by World Rugby, the England-New Zealand semi-final being robbed of one of the best referees in the game. This is what has been said: 


Nigel Owens is now set to referee the England versus All Blacks match, while Jerome Garces takes charge of Wales’ contest with South Africa, Peyper’s native country. 

This decision has set a precedent in how referees should interact with fans and it has not reflected well on World Rugby. 

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