Wallabies coach bags ref after loss to New Zealand
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Australia coach Michael Cheika launched a blistering attack on referee Romain Poite after his team lost to New Zealand 29-9 on Saturday, saying he was ''bitterly disappointed'' at the Frenchman's treatment of Wallabies captain Stephen Moore.
Cheika accused Poite of not liking Moore, ignoring the captain as he questioned rulings during Saturday's match in Wellington, and of having ''pre-determined attitudes'' towards Australia's players.
The Australian Rugby Union was also reported to be planning a complaint to World Rugby that Poite held a ''secret'' meeting with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen in the days before the test, and that Cheika wasn't offered a similar meeting.
Cheika made a similar charge during Australia's series against England in June, claiming England coach Eddie Jones secretly met with South African referee Craig Joubert.
Hansen told reporters Sunday that he did not meet with Poite. He said he and All Blacks scrum coach Mike Cron met with assistant referee Jaco Peyper at Peyper's request to discuss elements of scrum rules but he had not met with a match referee before a test for almost two years.
''It's quite sad that that's come out, because it's not true,'' Hansen said. ''Unless saying `g'day Romain' in the morning (constitutes a meeting). He stayed here at this hotel.''
The All Blacks clinched the three-test Bledisloe Cup series with a match to play. New Zealand beat Australia 42-8 in Sydney last weekend, and Saturday's win extends to 14 years their grip on the Bledisloe Cup.
It was also Australia's sixth straight loss, including last year's Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand and a 3-0 series loss to England in June.
''I was bitterly disappointed, to be honest,'' Cheika said. ''I'm on record with the referees' boss Alain Rolland about the treatment to our captain and our players, by Romain Poite, and also by Nigel Owens over this last year.
''I'm not quite sure why, but there was a time in the game in a break in play when the national captain of Australia was asking the referee, `When might there be an opportunity for me to talk to you?' And he absolutely ignored him.
''The referee may not like the captain personally, that might be his prerogative, but he has to afford him that opportunity if he is affording it to his opponents.
''I don't know if it's subconscious or not, but it's there, and it's got to be dealt with because it can't be that the opponents can say everything to the referee. No one is saying anything bad to him but if they've got pre-determined attitudes towards our players. ... I asked Alain Rolland last week when I saw him in Sydney and he said, `No, that's a surprise to me.' But it's pretty blatant to anyone listening to the `refs' ears.'''