Cheika blasts Poite, files rugby complaint

By Vince Rugari
Cheika blasts Poite, files rugby complaint

The Wallabies have filed a complaint to World Rugby over a meeting between All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and referee Romain Poite that was held on the eve of the second Bledisloe Cup Test without Australia's knowledge.

It comes after coach Michael Cheika said he was left "bitterly disappointed" by Frenchman Poite's control of Saturday night's 29-9 defeat at Wellington's Westpac Stadium, ensuring the Bledisloe Cup will remain in New Zealand for a 14th consecutive year.

The Australian Rugby Union claims Hansen and one of his assistants met Poite for morning tea on Friday.

Under World Rugby regulations, coaches can meet referees before a match only if there are representatives from both teams present, or if one side declines the opportunity.

A similar controversy occurred during June's three-Test series after England coach Eddie Jones also met Poite in Brisbane without an invitation being extended to the Australians.

Cheika blasted Poite for "absolutely ignoring" approaches from Australia captain Stephen Moore to seek clarification on decisions, and said the referee failed to stop the game when David Pocock was down and needed a concussion test.

"He has the whistle, I understand ... the referee might not like the captain personally, that might be his prerogative, but he has to afford him that opportunity if he's affording it to his opponents," Cheika said.

"I'm on record with referees boss Alain Rolland about the treatment to our captain and our players by Romain Poite and also by Nigel Owens.

"I don't know if it's subconscious or not but it's there and it's got to be dealt with, because that can't be going on if the opponent can have every player discussing with the referee.

"If they've got a predetermined position on our players, I asked Alain Rolland in Sydney and he said, 'Oh that's a surprise to me if it is', but it's pretty blatant to anyone listening to the ref's ears, I would say."

Meanwhile, All Blacks prop Owen Franks is expected to be cited for an attempted eye gouge on Kane Douglas in the first half.

Video of the incident, which occurred in the seventh minute, circulated on social media during the match and Cheika said he saw it at the time.

"They couldn't miss it, it was pretty in the open. It'd be pretty hard for the match review to miss," he said.