Wallabies 'want to be heard'

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes the ARU’s complaints over refereeing will fall on deaf ears, while All Blacks counterpart Steve Hansen has denied that he ever met with Romain Poite ahead of the second Test.

The ARU lodged a formal complaint to World Rugby over an alleged meeting between Poite and Hansen, of which the Wallabies were unaware.

Under World Rugby regulations, teams may meet with referees as long as their opposition is made aware and has the choice to join the meeting, something the Wallabies say never happened.

New Zealand has won the Bledisloe Cup again. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyAustralia had a similar issue in June, with Eddie Jones, and Cheika expressed his frustration over the lack of consultation, though said he wasn’t searching for an excuse after another series loss.

“In the June series we spoke to World Rugby about it. If the opposition wants to have those, as per the rules, we want to have the opportunity to attend.

“We don't have to go but we want to have the opportunity.

“We suggested that again this week and it didn't happen so pretty clear they're not interested in our comments on the issue.

“It's just a footnote for us, it's not a major issue in relation to the game itself it's just something that we want to be heard on and I think for Australia we've got to try to get ourselves heard on and off the field as much as we can.”

Hansen said the allegations were simply not true, addressing reporters in Wellington on Sunday.

“It's quite sad that that's come out because it's not true," he said. "Unless you [mean I said], 'G’day Romain' in the morning because he stayed here at this hotel,” he said.

“I did have a meeting with [assistant referee] Jaco Peyper this week and talked to him at his request with Crono [All Blacks forwards coach Mike Cron] about some of the stuff that he had seen in our game.

"I'm a firm believer that we're here to support the referees. It's a difficult game to ref so why wouldn't you have a meeting, but I certainly didn't have a meeting with Romain Poite.

“We don't meet the ref, we haven't for 18 to 24 months because it's just a waste of time."

Cheika was seething over the refereeing in the second Bledisloe Test, suggesting that Poite didn’t give Wallabies captain Stephen Moore a fair chance to speak to him during the match.

It’s something that vice-captain Michael Hooper said he also felt, both when Moore was skipper and when he took over after Moore went off.

“From an outsider's view it looked like it was tough to get communication across for Stephen and even my bit in the back end of the game, I was finding it tough but in those high pressure moments, it's always tough," he said.

"There's nothing different - referee is the hardest job on the field, he's trying to ref and he's got 30 guys talking to him so I understand it's hard but it was harder for Stephen last night."

Michael Hooper said it was hard to communicate with the referee. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyHooper wasn’t willing to point to that barrier as any reason for their 29-9 loss, though.

“You could look at those little moments and see if they'll make a difference but we were beaten before that.”

The Wallabies have a week off this week, before reconvening in Brisbane next week ahead of their first Test against the Springboks and Cheika said it would be ‘game on’.

“It's game on, as usual,” he said.

“We've got to make sure we take the things we thought we did well yesterday and bring them in more, with more volume and then also get better at delivering on field what we practise, what we want to do and not letting the pressure of the game or the intensity of the game sway us away from that.”