Wallabies and England set for refs meeting

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies and England are set to meet with referee Craig Joubert together ahead of their crucial second Test on Saturday.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said on Wednesday that he rarely opted to meet with referees in the lead up to matches, though that option is available to all teams., but on Friday said he was considering joining England at their meeting.

Under World Rugby rules, if one team requests a meeting with the referee an invitation is also extended to the opposition and the Wallabies have taken up that invite his week.

“We didn't ask the referee for the meeting,” he said.

“The rules of the union are if you ask for a meeting the other team gets invited if they want to take up the opportunity so we figured we would.

“We didn't know last week so we will this week.”

England assistant Steve Borthwick said he hadn’t been in a situation where both teams had been in the same meeting with a referee but was aware they could.

Borthwick said there was no sense that a meeting would influence a referee either way.

“I think when you deal with referee Craig Joubert, he’s one of the world’s very best referees.

“I’ve got every confidence he’s going to referee the game well, he’s tremendously experienced, refereed both teams many times.”

Craig Joubert will referee Saturday's game. Photo: Getty ImagesDespite a lopsided 15-8 penalty count against the Wallabies last weekend, Cheika said Australia wasn’t after any extra clarification from Joubert.

“I don't think there's any clearing up from our end,” he said.

“We saw where we went wrong, so we know what we need to fix in our thing.

“We've got to clear our own things up before we start worrying about that.

“You want to be in a situation not to even give penalties away and not even leave those things to interpretation.

“Once we do that, it won't be an issue for us.”

Cheika said there wasn’t a feeling of extra pressure around the team ahead of the must-win second Test, rather a desire to win.

“There's no need to feel pressure in this game because there's real serious things going on out there and obviously  we want to win,” he said.

“We're not naive, we want to play at our best, like we always want to do.

“We've got the physical  part, the accuracy of our play, our kicking, all that stuff and then we're fully committed to the game and everyone wants to enjoys us playing that way and that's what we want to do."

While the officiating seems to be out of the Wallabies’ minds, the greater issue might turn out to be the quality of the AAMI Park pitch.

Both the Wallabies and England said on Friday they were confident about the state of the pitch, which has been heavily criticised in recent months.