Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Referee Jaco Peyper was just showing his human side with Wales fans, give him a break

'Elbow' official should not have been punished by World Rugby

Jaco Peyper was snapped imitating the Sebastien Vahaamahina elbow, and it cost him a possible semi-final match. Twitter/ArnaudCoudry
Jaco Peyper was snapped imitating the Sebastien Vahaamahina elbow, and it cost him a possible semi-final match. Twitter/ArnaudCoudry

I know Jaco Peyper pretty well. He was a sevens referee for quite a while, and it was very clear from the off that he would move on to the Test stage at XVs.

He is bright, open, and just a really good bloke. He showed his human side by agreeing to a photo with some of the Wales fans after their win against France.

Sebastien Vahaamahina was red carded in that match, and has subsequently announced his immediate retirement from Test rugby.

That was a really sad end to an international career that brought him 46 caps, and he was a great ambassador for France.

Vahaamahina has had a lot of stick since then. He has owned up and apologised for his behaviour.

Everyone has forgotten about his highlights, and he is going to be remembered for one moment of madness.

I feel for him. I am a great believer that you shouldn’t protect someone from the consequences of their behaviour, and Vahaamahina has faced that in technicolour.

For Peyper, the punishment has not fitted the crime. He shouldn’t have raised his elbow in the picture. It was a moment that did not look great, but he still deserved to be considered for a semi-final appointment.

He agreed with a picture with fans, showed a human side – a side none of us always get right.

Give him a break. The actions of officials are under the microscope more and more, and if he had missed the elbow and not red carded him then I would be saying he loses out on a semi because of his performance.

No this. It is a storm in a teacup that his referee bosses turned into an urn.

Updated: October 25, 2019 12:51 PM

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