The Wallabies have lost their sixth match in a row to England, after going down 37-18 at Twickenham on Saturday.
The defeat was the ninth from 13 Tests in 2018 for coach Michael Cheika, who looks a long way off repeating his effort of reaching the final at the 2015 World Cup, only 10 months from next year’s tournament in Japan.
There was controversy in the match and before it, however, with Cheika left fuming at South African referee Jaco Peyper after a try-saving no-arms tackle by England fly-half Owen Farrell went unpunished.
With the Wallabies trailing 13-10 on the stroke of halftime, Australia lock Izack Rodda went charging towards the line only to have his progress halted by the English co-captain.
— Steve Lenthall (@steve_l15) November 24, 2018
Cheika’s side had to instead settle for a Matt To’omua penalty to level the scores, only to fall apart in the second half as England ran in three tries.
“We had three disallowed tries, because I’m counting that as one,” Cheika told Sky Sports.
“Not one referred back … maybe we’ve got to move Australia up to the northern hemisphere because the shoulder charge penalty … we went to the referees meeting in the first week after the South Africa game [against England].
“The referees categorically told us that should have been a penalty.
“If that’s a penalty, that one is three penalties.
“The idea the referee would say that our player ran in and shoulder charged the opposition is ludicrous.”
The match ended a bad week for the Wallabies, in which some players battled a sickness bug that spread through the squad, then the loss of star flanker David Pocock, followed by two players being stood down for breaking tour rules,
Adam Ashley-Cooper and Kurtley Beale were axed after breaking team rules, after an incident at the squad’s Cardiff hotel in which the pair invited three women back to their room.
The women were known by the pair, one of them being Ashley-Cooper’s sister-in-law, but team rules stipulate guests are not allowed into players’ rooms.
Coach Michael Cheika said the the pair had made “an error of judgement” and it cost them their place in the team.
The team’s leadership group, led by skipper Michael Hooper, informed Cheika of what happened on Tuesday and asked him to take appropriate action.
Cheika insisted it was a minor incident and said the players understood they were in the wrong and confirmed Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle had been informed about the situation.
“The leadership team came to me … I thought I needed to take action,” Cheika said.
“Whether in this instance it was a family member or whatever it is, doesn’t matter, that’s the rule.
Bad start for tourists
The tourists got off to the worst possible start when Dane Haylett-Petty’s attempted second-minute clearance was charged down by Ben Youngs deep inside the Wallabies’ half.
After then conceding a scrum, Australia’s defence was caught napping as Jonny May dived over untouched in the right corner.
The absence of Pocock was stark for the Australia, as they struggled terribly at the breakdown and England controlled the opening 30 minutes.
But the hosts had only two Farrell penalties to show for their superiority following May’s try.
To’omua’s penalty put Australia on the scoreboard, but they failed to cross England’s 22-metre line until a Jack Maddocks break in the 25th minute.
However, the Wallabies managed to grow into the game and looked to have scored a try from their first meaningful attack one minute later.
Samu Kerevi powerful run and pass and found Haylett-Petty who finished superbly.
But just as To’omua lined up to kick the extra two points, Peyper ruled the pass was forward via the big screen and awarded England a scrum.
Cheika’s men then hit back with a classy try from Israel Folau in the 36th minute.
Running on in support from fullback, Folau, latched onto an inside pass from Samu Kerevi and waltzed past Farrell and Youngs to touch down under the posts.
To add insult to injury, three minutes after the restart Farrell set up Elliot Daly for a long-range try.
TRY TIME 🌹@elliotdaly with a brilliant try to make it 20-13 to the hosts at Twickenham 🙌
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 24, 2018
Giant winger Joe Cokanasiga crossed for try as did Farrell, who also kicked three penalties and four conversions to put the game well out of Australia’s reach despite a late consolation from Folau in the final minute.