Wednesday 21 August 2019

Michael Cheika to be investigated after f-word ref rant caught on TV

Australia head coach Michael Cheika. Photo: Reuters
Australia head coach Michael Cheika. Photo: Reuters

Nigel Whittaker

Australia coach Michael Cheika is under investigation for his reaction during the 30-6 defeat by England last Saturday.

Cheika raged at a number of decisions from referee Ben O'Keeffe and television match official Simon McDowell, with the Wallabies having two tries disallowed, two players sent to the sin-bin and a controversial score given to England on their way to a record victory over their rivals.

The Australian head coach reacted most angrily to Michael Hooper's try being chalked off, with O'Keeffe checking with the TMO to see whether the Wallabies skipper was offside at the time when centre Tevita Kuridrani kicked the ball forwards.

When O'Keeffe subsequently ruled out the try and awarded a penalty to England - Cheika applauded sarcastically and muttered what appeared to be "f****** genius" under his breath - though there have been suggestions that he actually said "f****** cheat".

Those allegations have caught the attention of the match disciplinary officer, Jon Davis, who has reviewed footage of the incident that was caught by television cameras - the same one that caught England head coach Eddie Jones swearing when he muttered "f***, how f****** stupid are we?" in response to conceding a penalty.

Denied The investigation has been confirmed by the autumn international disciplinary committee. Cheika will learn today whether he will be charged. Speaking after the match, Cheika denied using the word and walked out of the interview soon after.

"Not at all, no, I never said…" Cheika answered. "Is that what it's coming down to? I'm trying to have an interview without trying to get stuck into that and you want to try and keep making it.

"Maybe I did swear. It happens sometimes in life. Has it happened to you? Maybe the TV camera wasn't on you at the time."

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Cheika did not attend an interview with Sky Sports before the broadcaster went off air on Saturday, although he did later speak to them as well as the BBC, and he attended his post-match press conference as scheduled nearly an hour after full-time.

Cheika revealed that he had received a "gobful" of abuse from fans during the match, and that he had been involved in an incident with one supporter in particular when he made his way down from the coach's box to the touchline.

"There are plenty of fans giving me a gobful, and not nice, not pleasant, but that's the way it goes," he said. "I know when I walk down the stairs that I'm going to cop abuse but that's the way she rolls."

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