Australia coach Michael Cheika has questioned some of the decisions made by referee Nigel Owens in Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash in Dunedin.
The Wallabies came within a whisker of avenging last week’s comprehensive 54-34 defeat to the All Blacks before a last-minute Beauden Barrett try swung the tie back in New Zealand’s favour in a pulsating 35-29 result.
Cheika, however, is not happy with the way in which the game out – in particular, the former Leinster coach questioned Owens’ decision on the Brodie Retallick tackle that upended Ned Hanigan, and a reversed decision of an alleged Aaron Smith knock-on.
Cheika told reporters after the final whistle:
“I’ve got to tread lightly here my friend.
“Number one, what I can say because it’s clear to everyone is that Retallick picked up one of our blokes up and put him on his head. He’s put his arm through his legs, picked him up, and it’s a free pass.
“It’s clear. The guy can’t end up on his head any other way. It’s a free pass; it’s just as well he didn’t break his neck.
“I was surprised by some of the [decisions]. 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.
“Any of that stuff does not excuse in any way us not finishing that game off. I don’t want it to be taken that way.But there were some calls last year in Auckland and we’ve been hit again here.
“I know people are throwing eggs and bombs our way and that’s the way she rolls. It’s all good but the gallant loser thing is not on. We should have won that game. We should have got hold of the ball and kept it.”
The All Blacks completed the double over their Australian counterparts with their eventual victory, with Kieran Read lifting the Bledisloe Cup after the final whistle.
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