Wednesday 23 January 2019

'Maybe if they had asked a different question we would have gotten a result' - Joe Schmidt frustrated at officials

CJ Stander of Ireland is tackled by Scott Sio and David Pocock of Australia
CJ Stander of Ireland is tackled by Scott Sio and David Pocock of Australia

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Joe Schmidt has said that the opening test was closer than it appeared on the scoreboard and some discrepancies from referee Marius van der Westhuizen cost Ireland.

Ireland were defeated by Australia 18-9 in Brisbane today. The loss marks the end of a 12-game unbeaten run for Ireland, who are currently the second ranked team in the world.

After leading by a point in the second half, Schmidt made several changes to his side, opting to bring in an experienced full front row of Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong. He also replaced the dynamic Joey Carbery with Johnny Sexton at outhalf. At that point Ireland could have been expected to seal the victory, however some excellent play from Australia out wide and at scrum time inspired a ten-point turnaround and victory for the Wallabies.

Speaking after the game, Schmidt said that the match was in the balance and criticised some refereeing decisions which he feels were costly for Ireland.

"It was a pretty close affair," he told Sky Sports.

"I thought we dealt ok, but one of the frustrating things, is they often took out our support player, so then we were a bit slow at the ruck, and then the whole thing gets slowed down.

"A couple of times, we were five meters out and got called for knock-ons that looked like pretty clear infringements on replay when we were looking at them.

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"CJ Stander (got over the line),  maybe if they had asked a different question (TMO was asked 'try or no try' instead of 'is there any reason we cannot award the try'), we would have gotten a result. At the same time, they missed a result at the other end when they quite clearly took a player out at the other end."

Schmidt reflected on Ireland's set piece, where he was happy with their lineout but again felt hard done by at scrum time. Australia scored a penalty after a defensive scrum on Ireland's five meter line. Although the scrum seemed to turn past the 90 degrees mark, at which point the referee should have reset it. Schmidt said that he will have to look at ways to combat Australia boring in, which is also illegal, for the eventuality that the referees continue not to referee the scrum properly.

"I thought the lineout was pretty good, I thought we put some good pressure on their lineout," he said

"At scrum time we didn't quite get what we were looking for so we're going to have to work away on that.

"Particularly with them angling across putting a lot of pressure on our tighthead side. So we're going to have to combat that. Frustrating when the scrum spins through 90 degrees, almost 180 degrees, but if it's not solved elsewhere (by the referees) we've got to solve it ourselves."

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