Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes Bernard Foley should have been awarded a try that was ultimately disallowed, but stopped short of blaming poor fortune for his side’s loss.
Bernard Foley had a try disallowed in the 29th minute, after the TMO penalised Rory Arnold for obstruction.
While Cheika wasn’t blaming that moment for the loss, he was frank about his view on the decision and the process around reviewing it.
“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.”
England flyhalf Owen Farrell slotted a penalty goal just two minutes later that put England in the lead for the first time, a position they did not relinquish, but Cheika said it was no 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.”
The Wallabies were on the disappointing end of a 15-8 penalty count against England and Cheika said the side had to take responsibility for that.
“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.”
More concerning for Cheika was the way in which they surrendered momentum after a blistering start, that put them 10 points up after 17 minutes.
“It makes it hard to get the speed of the game going when it’s being punctuated by that many penalties and we weren’t giving those penalties away at the start of the game.
The Wallabies will be sweating on the fitness of Rob Simmons, whose night was ended in the 25th minute by a back injury, compounded by the loss of winger Rob Horne (concussion)
Cheika said it was hard to tell the severity of Simmons’s injury, which will be monitored in the coming days, while Horne is expected to be right for the second Test in Melbourne.