Wallabies boss Michael Cheika was left fuming by the performance of match referee Pascal Gauzere, revealing he had invited the French official to attend his post-match press conference to explain his decisions for himself.
The Australians felt aggrieved by a number of Gauzere’s decisions during the 20-16 defeat to Ireland at Allianz Stadium, including a yellow card for full-back Israel Folau after 30 minutes, some inconsistency over forward passes and a late penalty against Wallabies replacement hooker Tolu Latu which allowed Johnny Sexton to open up a four-point lead for the tourists with a minute to go.
That left Australia chasing a try to win the game rather than a penalty or drop-goal and former Leinster boss Cheika, who was animated in the coach’s box throughout the final Test and is no stranger to run-ins with officaldom, expressed his displeasure at Gauzere once more in his media briefing.
“You guys have seen what happened out there, you saw the decisions, the only person that can answer the questions are the referees, to be honest,” Cheika said.
“Not me, because I’ll say something and you’ll say it’s a biased view on our direction.
“I invited him to come to the presser but he didn’t want to, because I don’t want to be the guy who’s like, ‘Oh, he’s a moaner’, because that’s how it always ends up.
Asked if he would seek clarity on Folau’s sin-binning for taking out Peter O’Mahony in the air, Cheika was similarly perplexed.
Both Gauzere and TMO Ben Skeen of New Zealand believed Folau had contested fairly with defensive jumper O’Mahony at an Australian restart but had made contact with the Irish skipper on the way down, causing him to land heavily on a shoulder, an injury which ended his participation after half an hour.
It was the third time O’Mahony had appeared to have been upended in those situations and his lifter CJ Stander later admitted he could have better protected his man but Folau yesterday received a citing commissioner’s warning for the second incident of the three, which went unpunished despite the Wallaby’s hand making contact with O’Mahony’s face.
Cheika said he would not bother seeking clarity on the yellow card that ensued from the third incident.
“I tried that last week, I went to see the refs,” he said.
“They’d seen us the week before, clips of us tackling players without the ball, obviously after the Adam Coleman one, game one when the try was disallowed.
“The referee that week (Marius van der Westhuizen) sent me a bunch of clips saying, these guys have been tackling without the ball three or four clips of us.
“Then after game two, I went back to them, with some other things and tried to seek clarity on what entails tackling without the ball because there was four or five tackles on our players without the ball in game two, one which broke Will Genia’s arm, shoulder charge off the back of the ruck when he didn’t have the ball, which the referees agreed at that meeting they were foul.
Stander, speaking about O’Mahony’s injury said: “It’s a tough one, because I’m the one lifting him and I need to look after him.
“It’s just that Folau is unbelievable in the air, it’s one of those ones where you need to go back and look at it and he got a yellow card.
“It’s tough, Pete got injured because of it. It’s something we worked on during the week, we knew it was going to come, I could have probably protected him a bit better.”
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