Cheika defends Joubert’s decision

Date published: October 19 2015

Australian coach Michael Cheika has defended referee Craig Joubert's decision in the final minute of the quarter-final against Scotland on Sunday.

The South African found himself in the centre of the media spotlight after his penalty gave the Wallaby's Bernard Foley a chance to win the match. While a hapless Scotland looked on, Foley kicked the three points, sending his team through to the semi-finals. 

Joubert ruled that Scotland's Jon Welsh was offside when he instinctively picked up the ball following a knock-on from John Hardie, though replays indicate that the ball could have come off Australia's Nick Phibbs.  

Chieka was also quick to point out that Joubert's eagle eyes had picked up a knock-on that lead to a try from Australia's Adam Ashley-Cooperbeing disallowed.

"He gave it as a penalty…it's been pretty interesting to see how things have gone down," said Cheika.

"I've been really interested to see some of the rhetoric that's come out about officialdom over the week. I know that's the point that everyone’s focusing on but no one's congratulating Joubert for picking up the tiniest knock-on before we scored the try in the corner and going back to the TMO.

"Some decisions you’ll get and some decisions you won’t. Everything in rugby is open to interpretation because everything in rugby is a contest. And that’s the great thing about rugby…it's a contest sport."

Joubert ran off the field immediately after the final whistle, leading many to believe he felt some kind of guilt about the decision that cost Scotland a memorable win.

However, Cheika does not read too much into Joubert's swift exit from Twickanham.

"Someone threw a bottle at him, didn’t they?" quipped the former Waratahs coach.

"I'd be racing off too if I saw a bottle coming. I don't think anything of him going off quickly. I don't like the way that people are making something out of the way he ran off the field. 

"You've got to assess the things for what they are and not the more romantic nature of what we're all thinking. He's just a person like everyone else."