Rugby Championship

Wallabies coach baffled by ref's decisions

2017-08-26 15:58
Michael Cheika (Getty Images)

Dunedin - Wallabies coach Michael Cheika fired shots at the match officials after the narrow 35-29 loss to the All Blacks on Saturday, singling out a lack of punishment for New Zealand lock Brodie Retallick for a perceived dangerous tackle.

Cheika claimed several calls went against the Wallabies in the tense Rugby Championship clash in which the All Blacks came from behind in a frantic finish to snatch victory with a try two minutes from fulltime.

He was particularly incensed when Wallabies flanker Ned Hanigan was tipped on his head and said "it's just as well he didn't break his neck."

The incident happened in the 23rd minute as Hanigan and Retallick were getting up off the ground.

It was reviewed by the television match official who decided no action was required.

"I've got to tread lightly here," Cheika said when pressed to explain why he was baffled by some of the refereeing decisions.

"Number one that I can say, that was clear to everyone, is that Retallick picked up one of our blokes and put him on his head. Categorically. He got his arm through his legs, picked him up and it's a free pass. That's one that's clear so I don't have to go over it."

Cheika also took exception to Australia being penalised after an All Blacks knock on with referee Nigel Owens saying he was acting on advice from his assistant.

"There was a scrum where the ball came back out, they knocked it on, and there were no comms on a penalty for the loosehead going in. Yet a couple of seconds later they decided it was a penalty. I've never seen that before," he said.

However, Cheika said the officiating was no excuse for Australia losing.

"It's irrelevant whether it's fair or not because it is the way it's officiated, and any of that stuff does not in any way excuse not finishing that game off with three minutes to go and a kick off to us."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen also admitted the game could have gone either way with only a late try by Beauden Barrett saving the New Zealanders.

"They played some good rugby tonight and they'll be disappointed. They could have easily won the match," he said.

It was a big turnaround for the Wallabies a week after they were thrashed by the All Blacks 54-34 in Sydney.

They raced to a 17-0 lead in the first 16 minutes of the rematch and once the All Blacks settled down the lead changed five times with Beauden Barrett scoring the winning try with two minutes remaining.

Both sides scored five tries with the difference being Barrett's ability to convert all of the All Blacks tries while Wallabies kicker Bernard Foley was only successful with two attempts.

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