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Sebastien Vahaamahina was shown a red by Jaco Peyper for an elbow on Aaron Wainwright

World Rugby investigating photo of referee Jaco Peyper mocking France’s Sebastien Vahaamahina by mimicking his elbow on Aaron Wainwright with group of Wales fans

  • Sebastien Vahaamahina was shown a red card for an elbow in the 48th minute
  • France were leading 19-10 before the dismissal during World Cup quarter-final
  • France ended up losing 20-19 as Wales booked their place in the semi-finals 
  • Jaco Peyper appeared to mock Vahaamahina following the dramatic clash
  • He posed for a picture with a group of happy Wales fans and mimicked elbow 
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World Rugby are investigating after a photograph emerged of referee Jaco Peyper appearing to mimic the elbow by France’s Sebastien Vahaamahina on Wales’ Aaron Wainwright in Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final.

Peyper sent Vahaamahina off for his actions and the moment of madness proved costly for France, who were leading Wales 19-10 at the time before going on to lose 20-19.

A photograph later emerged on social media of Peyper apparently re-enacting the elbow in mockery of Vahaamahina with a group of Wales supporters. 

Sebastien Vahaamahina was shown a red by Jaco Peyper for an elbow on Aaron Wainwright

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Sebastien Vahaamahina was shown a red by Jaco Peyper for an elbow on Aaron Wainwright

The 39-year-old South African can be seen raising his elbow in the picture while smiling for the camera.

It led to condemnation from French officials, with their Rugby Federation vice president Dr Serge Simon writing on Twitter: ‘This photo if it is true is shocking and explanations will be necessary.’

And now World Rugby have responded, saying their aware of the picture and are looking into what happened.

‘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,’ a spokesperson said.

‘It would be inappropriate to comment further while we are establishing the facts.’ 

Vahaamahina’s costly elbow was the biggest talking point on Sunday after he was given his marching orders in the 48th minute.

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During a maul, the France lock grappled his right arm around Wainwright’s neck before pulling it away and launching his elbow back into his face.

The Wales flanker winced in pain as the maul continued, with the incident being looked at in a TMO review by the referee soon after.

After a short deliberation, Vahaamahina was dismissed, leaving his side to play the rest of the game with 14 men.  

Vahaamahina smashes his elbow into the face of Wainwright during the quarter-final

Vahaamahina smashes his elbow into the face of Wainwright during the quarter-final

Vahaamahina smashes his elbow into the face of Wainwright during the quarter-final

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Wales head coach Gatland and his France counterpart Jacques Brunel endorsed Peyper’s decision to issue the eighth red card of Japan 2019.

The 28-year-old Vahaamahina, scorer of his side’s opening try, spent the rest of the game sat on the bench with his hands on his head.

‘The officials dealt with it appropriately. I don’t think anyone could complain about that. The right decision was made,’ Gatland said.

‘Rugby is heat of the moment stuff and he made an error of judgement. When you have got a lot of testosterone involved in some pretty high intensity games, that will sometimes happen. He’s made a poor decision.’ 

After grappling his arm around Wainwright, Vahaamahina saw red on Sunday in Oita

After grappling his arm around Wainwright, Vahaamahina saw red on Sunday in Oita

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After grappling his arm around Wainwright, Vahaamahina saw red on Sunday in Oita

Brunel agreed that Vahaamahina deserved to be dismissed.

‘The red card I don’t contest – when you see the images it’s very clear. He did have contact with the face so we can’t deny that,’ Brunel said.

‘Of course it changed the game. When you’re playing half the match with 14 men it’s difficult.’