Wallabies pointing fingers at McCaw

Date published: August 19 2013

Richie McCaw did a great job of slowing down ball on his return to Test rugby, but instead of being praised, he's been branded a cheat.

Richie McCaw made an impressive return to international rugby on Saturday in his side's crushing victory over Australia.

The All Blacks captain had a big effect on the game, getting to the breakdown first and causing chaos in an attempt to steal ball on the ground.

Christian Lealiifano kept the Wallabies in the hunt with four first-half penalties in the 29-47 defeat in the Rugby Championship opener in Sydney, but the hosts feel aggrieved over what they believe were deliberate infringements at the breakdown.

“All those penalties were in the same part of the field. As soon as we got in their half, it was a penalty,” complained Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.

“So you're having a shot at goal and then – guess what? – you're receiving a kick-off again and you're back playing in your own half.

“We didn't spend a lot of time playing much rugby. It was a penalty, bang, yeah we kicked it and we got three points for it, but we were never able to play much.

“You'd like to get a bit more momentum, but we didn't get that.”

Australian captain James Horwill pleaded that referee Craig Joubert take sterner action and use his cards for repeat offences, but the South African didn't oblige.

“They were for the same thing in the same spot, so I was just letting him know that they were building up and that there was a bit of a pattern to it,” Horwill said.

“When we got down there holding the ball, there were infringements made and that's for his call to be made.”

McKenzie said such infringements have become tactical and officials need to consider using yellow cards more often.

“You miss the opportunity to attack and play in front of the goal posts,” he said.

“If they give away penalties, then yellow cards come in because it becomes repeated infringements.

“It's one of those issues. It's been there all year. So it's up to the referees about when they make those decisions.”