Cheika rues missed opportunities
WALLABIES coach Michael Cheika bemoaned some dubious refereeing decisions and a lack of clinical play from his own team after England broke its drought in Brisbane with a 39-28 victory at Suncorp Stadium.
The Wallabies were on the wrong end of a 15-8 penalty count and were also denied a try to Bernard Foley after French referee Romain Poite and the Television Match Official overturned the five-pointer, ruling that second row Rory Arnold obstructed an England tackler.
Cheika said the decision did not cost the Wallabies the game and said England deserved to win but questioned the process of disallowing the try.
"It’s not obstruction," he said.
"What disappointed me the most was the communication. The referee said, ’is there any reason I can’t award the try,’, the TMO showed the pictures and said, ’that’s the angle’.
"If it was try or no try (that’s fine) but when he said, ’Is there any reason why I can’t award the try?’ it’s got to be clear."
Two minutes later England fly half Owen Farrell kicked a penalty goal to put the visitors in front for the first time and from that moment on England never lost the lead.
Cheika said the non-try and Farrell’s penalty was a game-changer.
"We scored a try and they kicked a goal in the next two minutes but we let them get down there," he said.
"They got the penalty and then they went down there and we gave away another penalty, which allowed them to get a goal.
"You can’t directly connect the missed seven to the got three because we had a part in the next bit that gave them the three."
While disappointed with the penalty count against his team, Cheika said his players had to take some responsibility.
"Sometimes we were happy to leave the opportunity for a 50-50 call and if you want to be a winner in the game you can’t play in that zone where (you think), ’I’m happy for it to be a contest’," he said.
"You’ve got to ensure that there’s no chance for a 50-50 call one way or another, That’s up to us. We can control that.
"Some of the other ones, they were a bit strange but those 50-50 ones, you’ve got to make sure you don’t leave any room for that."
Michael Hooper opened the scoring with a try after nine minutes with Israel Folau doubling the lead on 16 minutes.
Foley missed the conversions as the Wallabies let England off the hook.
Farrell kept England in touch with his goalkicking before Jonathan Joseph capitalised on some Wallabies errors to score England’s first try.
Marland Yarde stretched the visitors’ lead six minutes after the break with a well-worked try before the home side struck back through tries to Hooper and Tevita Kuridrani.
That gave hopes of a last-gasp comeback but England held on and rounded off the win with a try in the last minute to replacement Jack Nowell.