Saturday 17 February 2018

'We can't talk about interpretations in public': Furious Cheika to seek showdown with referees' chief Rolland over penalty count

David Kelly

David Kelly

Australian coach Michael Cheika was fuming at the penalty count of 13-4 as his side lost a thrilling Test match 27-24.

And he said he will seek a meeting with referees’ chief, Alain Rolland, the former Ireland referee and international scrum-half, to discuss what he felt were differing interpretations which damaged his side.

"It’s very tough to take," Cheika said.

"I thought we played a lot of footie and we were penalised a lot. 13-4, it costs you territory and points. You can’t win a test match with that. We will go through the proper channels and see if we get something. But I doubt it.

“We can’t talk about interpretations in public, we’re not allowed to and I don’t want to get into strife. We will talk about it with Alain Rolland.

“It’s about consistency. David Pocock was taken out behind the maul and we would have been penalised for that a few weeks ago.

“We don’t have a problem with a referee, just decisions. England are talking about our scrum, well we were penalised all over the place today so they should have no problem pushing us around.

“We have had a few meetings with him. Maybe we will just have to wear it.

“Ireland are obviously well-disciplined. Without talking about penalties, you take away territory and field possession, the maul held up rule is tough, we thought we had a few.

“They kept the ball well and we needed to sort out their first try with the bounce and there was a big hole in the defence for the second try.”

Cheika’s side scored 24 points in eleven minutes to overhaul Ireland’s significant early lead but felt his side were guilty of giving up more chances.

“I was really pleased with the second-half, we played really good rugby and that is what we want. We just need to play it for longer. And try to be more disciplined. You can’t win a game with that spread of penalties.

“We let Ireland get too far ahead and we can’t come with just one half. We got away with against Scotland but not today.

“We ran a bit harder and rucked harder. We couldn’t get anything done in the first-half, our first break we threw the ball away.

“We were better with the ball. Maybe I am naive you can play rugby and win matches. We try to off-load but sometimes you have to choose when you have to.

“We made a lot of line-breaks but we have to finish. It’s disappointing to lose the chance of a Grand Slam and we will need to be 40 minutes better against England, at the very least.

“We are hurting tonight but we will dust ourselves down. We have used a lot of young guys and we will take this disappointment forward. We don’t want to hurt again.”

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