Rugby Championship News

Bitterly disappointed Cheika slams referee




Under Pressure Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says that he is “bitterly disappointed” with the way referee Romain Poite performed in his team’s 29-9 loss to the All Blacks.

Cheika says that Poite ignored Australia captain Stephen Moore which was an act he described as “blatant” and the continuation of a theme.

The Wallabies were on the wrong side of the referee’s penalty count in their 3-0 series loss to England in June and have recently tried to improve relationships with match officials.

Reports in New Zealand state that the Wallabies have made an official complaint about a meeting that All Black coach Steve Hansen had before the match with Poite which Cheika was apparently not invited to.

According to World Rugby rules if such a meeting takes place then both coaches must be present or at least invited and whether either side attends is up to them.

Cheika was caught by the TV cameras using foul language during his team’s loss to the All Blacks in response to some of the referee’s calls and when asked about the referee Cheika did not hold back.

“Well, I was bitterly disappointed, to be honest,” Cheika told the NZHerald.

“I’m on record with the referees’ boss Alain Rolland about the treatment to our captain and our players, by Romain Poite, and also by Nigel Owens over this last year.

“I’m not quite sure why, but there was a time in the game [tonight] in a break in play when the national captain of Australia [Moore] was asking the referee, ‘when might there be an opportunity for me to talk to you?’ And he absolutely ignored him. He’s got the whistle, I understand, but there’s a place where the captain has an opportunity to speak to the referee.

“The referee may not like the captain personally, that might be his prerogative, but he has to afford him that opportunity if he is affording it to his opponents. I think that attitude followed right through. David Pocock was being called off by the [assistant] referee for an HIA [head injury assessment] and the referee wouldn’t stop the game. The players almost went straight through the doctor, even though he was requested by the players to stop so the player could go off.

“I don’t know if it’s subconscious or not, but it’s there and it’s got to be dealt with because it can’t be that the opponents can say everything to the referee. No one is saying anything bad to him but if they’ve got pre-determined attitudes towards our players… I asked Alain Rolland last week when I saw him in Sydney and he said, ‘no, that’s a surprise to me’. But it’s pretty blatant to anyone listening to the ‘refs’ ears’.”

When captain Moore was asked about how he felt he was treated by Poite he said, “I think Cheik has pretty much said it all. I think It’s probably better if I leave what Cheik has said there.”

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