Rugby Championship

Cheika points finger at referee Poite

2016-08-27 14:57
Wallaby coach Michael Cheika (Gallo Images)

Wellington - An angry Wallabies coach Michael Cheika pointed the finger at referee Romain Poite after losing to the All Blacks 29-9 in Wellington on Saturday, questioning the French whistleblower's attitude to his players.

As it happened: All Blacks v Wallabies

The loss, following the heavy 42-8 defeat the previous week, saw the All Blacks claim the Bledisloe Cup for the 14th straight year.

While Cheika admitted the All Blacks played well, he believed his side were hurt by a high penalty count and pointed the finger at the referee Poite.

"I was bitterly disappointed, to be honest," Cheika said, questioning whether referees had a "pre-determined position" about the Australians.

The Wallabies have now lost six Tests in a row, three of them against New Zealand and statistics in their latest encounter show they were beaten across the board.

But rather than focus on the areas where the Australians need to improve, Cheika took out his frustrations on the referee.

He said he had already raised with world referees boss Alain Rolland his concerns about both Poite and Welshman Nigel Owens from previous Wallabies matches they had controlled.

"I'm not sure why. But there was a time there in the game, in a break in play (against the All Blacks), when the national captain of Australia is asking the referee 'when might be an opportunity for me to talk to you' and he absolutely ignored him," Cheika said.

"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 he's afforded his opponents."

Cheika also believed Poite should have stopped the game when Wallabies forward David Pocock was being called off the field by an assistant referee for a head injury assessment.

"I don't know if it's subconscious or not but it's there and it's got to be dealt with because that can't be going on," Cheika said.

"Is it a pre-determined position on our players? I asked Alain Rolland. I saw him last week in Sydney, and he said 'no, it's a surprise if it is'."

"It's pretty blatant to anyone listening" to the referee's comments during the game.

Cheika said he could not understand why Wallaby Adam Coleman was sent to the sin bin for a late tackle when he saw similar infringements by the All Blacks which went unpunished.

However, he believed officials would pick up on an incident in which he believed Wallaby forward Kane Douglas was eye-gouged.

"They can't miss it. It was pretty out in the open."

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