CEO Brett Gosper says World Rugby were aiming to clarify Craig Joubert's controversial penalty when it issued a statement.
The South African referee awarded a late penalty for accidental offside that Bernard Foley kicked to give the Wallabies a 35-34 win in their World Cup quarter-final.
World Rugby was then criticised for issuing a statement saying Joubert had got it wrong and should have awarded a scrum instead.
'We made a clarification,' Gosper told the media at the World Rugby Awards on Sunday. 'If there's any regret, it's the perception we may have thrown him [Joubert] under a bus, which certainly wasn't our intent. There were questions asked around TMO protocol at the time – could you use it, could you not use it?
'It was normal for us to go on and talk about the incident itself, in a transparent way. It was normal for us to then say there was a mistake made.
'Craig Joubert is a world-class referee, he continues to be one of our top referees. Referees, like players, make mistakes. That was one. The perception was not where we would have perhaps liked it.'