French official issues please explain over photos of ref Jaco Peyper mocking red card elbow

A French rugby official has issued a please-explain after South African referee Jaco Peyper appeared in photographs mimicking the elbow that saw France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina shown a red card.

In the light-hearted photos posted on Twitter following Wales’s 20-19 win over France, Peyper was seen posing with a group of Welsh fans.

French Rugby Federation vice president Dr Serge Simon called the photos “shocking” on Twitter.

"This photo, if it is true, is shocking and explanations will be necessary,” he wrote.

World Rugby issued a statement in response saying it was aware of the picture, but it was "inappropriate to comment further while we are establishing the facts."

Both coaches agreed that the decision to send Vahaamahina off early in the second half for elbowing Welsh flanker Aaron Wainwright in a maul was correct.

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French lock Sebastien Vahaamahina was sent off in Wales’s quarter-final win after elbowing Welshman Aaron Wainwright at a maul. Source: 1 NEWS

Welsh coach Warren Gatland brushed off the issue as he prepared his team for a semi-final clash with South Africa.

"He's had his 50th cap and he's posing with fans, the way things are and how PC everyone is, people like to make mountains out of molehills, that's how I view it," Gatland said.

Vahaamahina is set to face an independent judicial committee on Thursday.