World Rugby is set to talk with referee Jaco Peyper about a photograph which appeared on social media of him with a group of Wales rugby fans taken after he sent off France second-row Sébastien Vahaamahina in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal.
The photograph appeared on social media of referee Peyper with his elbow raised to a Welsh fans' jaw, appearing to reference the red card he issued earlier in the day to French lock Vahaamahina after he elbowed Wales' Aaron Wainwright in their knockout match in Oita.
"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 World Rugby spokesperson said. "It would be inappropriate to comment further while we are establishing the facts."
The photograph riled French Rugby Federation vice president Serge Simon, who tweeted: "If this photo is true, it is shocking and explanations will be necessary."
It was the eighth red card shown in this World Cup and speaking after the match, France coach Jacques Brunel said: "The red card, I can't contest it, when you see the images it is very clear, he had contact with his face so I don't have any problem with this decision."
Peyper is regarded as one of the world's top officials and is in line to referee one of the four remaining matches in this tournament.