Australia head coach Michael Cheika has claimed that referees at Rugby World Cup 2019 have become “spooked” by the game’s administrators and constant debate over high-tackles that has enveloped the tournament so far. Speaking after his side’s 29-25 loss to Wales in Tokyo, Cheika was particularly frustrated with Romain Poite’s decision to penalise Samu Kerevi for a dangerous charge in the first half. Kerevi, the ball-carrier, was adjudged to have led with his forearm and made indirect contact with the neck of tackler Rhys Patchell. On the field, after Poite had discussed the incident with television match official Ben Skeen and agreed to award a penalty to Wales, Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper suggested that Patchell’s “terrible tackle technique” was to blame. And, after the game, Cheika said that Patchell’s part in the collision reminded him of Reece Hodge’s tackle against Fiji earlier in the tournament, which brought the Australia wing a three-week ban and led to World Rugby issuing a statement admitting that officials had not been performing to an adequate standard. “It was pretty funny because I thought I had seen that tackle before,” Cheika said. “It could have been Reece Hodge, I am not sure. When our guy… Read full this story
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