Australia coach Michael Cheika has criticised World Rugby’s public condemnation of referee Craig Joubert and questioned whether the governing body will be reviewing any other contentious decisions from the tournament.
World Rugby admitted on Monday that Joubert had made an error when awarding the Wallabies a controversial last-minute penalty against Scotland, which fly-half Bernard Foley decisively converted to send Australia into the semi-finals.
Cheika believes the official review into Joubert’s penalty award and subsequent announcement is tantamount to hanging the South African out to dry, while other questionable judgements have not resulted in such intense scrutiny.
“I really feel for the referee,” said Cheika. “It’s so unfair. No other referee has had his stuff put out there like that. I would have liked my mates to back me up a little more. I really do feel for him.
“I felt we should have had a couple of scrum penalties before. I don’t know if they are reviewing those or if there is a document coming out from World Rugby on them. If there is then we’ll make a list.
“I don’t know if Samoa are making a list about the little knock-on before Scotland scored at the end [of their pool match], or how many more we are going to send in.
“If this is what’s going to happen then every team will be making a list as long as their arm. And with reason to.”
Cheika is increasingly confident that powerhouse forward David Pocock will be fit to face Argentina in Sunday’s semi-final at Twickenham, and is also hopeful that full-back Israel Folau and loosehead prop Scott Sio will be available.
New Zealand centre Conrad Smith, meanwhile, has shunned his nation’s rivalry with Australia by claiming their main adversaries in the modern game are South Afric, who the All Blacks face in a last-four showdown on Saturday.
He said: “I grew up in the apartheid era when Australia were the traditional foes, but now South Africa have come back into it and I think it’s got back to where it was and they are our ultimate rival.”