Cape Town - Former England loose forward James Haskell has hit out at World Rugby's decision to exclude South African referee Jaco Peyper for this weekend's Rugby World Cup semi-finals.

This comes after the South African referee caused an uproar after posing for a picture with Welsh fans following their quarter-final win over France last weekend.

In the picture, Peyper appears to mimic the elbow that led to France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina's red card.

Peyper dismissed the French lock in Oita last Sunday after video replays showed him smashing his elbow into the face of Welsh flank Aaron Wainwright early in the second half.

The French were leading 19-10 at the time, before going on to lose 20-19.

In a video clip that can be seen in the tweet below, Haskell says he could not understand why Peyper was punished for his actions.

"I am absolutely astounded that this is even a thing," Haskell says, before using several expletives explaining his reasoning.

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The 34-year-old Haskell played 77 Tests for England between 2007 and 2018 and recently set his sights on mixed martial arts (MMA).