Wallabies keeping referee decision private

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Springboks are likely to have a pre-Test meeting with referee Nigel Owens ahead of the Brisbane Test, though the Wallabies are yet to make a call on whether they will be there.

Springboks coach Allister Coetzee said the side welcomed the opportunity to meet with Owens ahead of the match and were requesting that meeting take place.

“We do have an opportunity to do that if you should request,” he said.

“I think it's just great to - if you don’t even discuss any tactical stuff, just to say hi to the guy and just meet him before the game.”

The pre-Test meetings have been somewhat of a sore point for the Wallabies, with the ARU filing a complaint to World Rugby after All Blacks coach Steve Hansen allegedly met with referee Romain Poite before their 29-9 Bledisloe Test win in Wellington.   

That followed a similar concern in June when Eddie Jones met with Poite leading into the series opener, though a miscommunication was the issue in that case.   

Allister Coetzee says they Springboks will be meeting with the referees. Photo: Getty ImagesUnder World Rugby regulations, if teams request a meeting with a referee before a Test, an invitation should be extended to the opposition to attend, though the opponent can refuse.   

Hansen denied the meeting took place, saying he had met with assistant referee Jaco Peyper in the week ahead of that Test, something that does not have to be open to both sides.

Cheika said on Thursday that he wasn’t sure whether he would meet with the referee but that was an ongoing discussion. 

“They (South Africa) would be going through the referees’ liaision,” he said.

“When they do decide, we'll decide what we're going to do from there.”   

The Wallabies mentor said that decision-making process, though, would be kept under wraps.   

“We'll keep that amongst the coaching staff for the moment because I think things are getting organised around that,” he said.   

“So, I don't know the full details but I'd prefer to keep that internal at the moment so we can try and get a better result.

“We're not looking for a blue. We just want to have the best outcome for ourselves.”

The Wallabies take on the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST.