Australia coach Michael Cheika expresses surprise at the lack of support given to Craig Joubert by World Rugby

Scotland went out of the World Cup in heartbreaking fashion, as they led 34-32 with 90 seconds to go but a late controversial Bernard Foley penalty sent the Wallabies into the semis. Referee Craig Joubert called a deliberate offside when replays seemed to indicate the ball had come off a Wallaby player. The contentious decision has left a bitter taste in the mouths of Scottish players and fans.

However Australia coach Michael Cheika has come to the defence of Joubert and has criticised World Rugby for reviewing the call and publicly announcing that his match-deciding 80th minute penalty should not have been awarded to Australia.

Joubert has been lambasted from all quarters of the game with former World Cup winner Matt Dawson calling him a “disgrace” for failing to shake Scottish players hands after the final whistle.

World Rugby said a scrum would have been the correct call. Cheika was angered at World Rugby’s review saying that they only chose to cover the one controversial decision from the match, rather than being a review of all tight calls from the weekend’s matches.

He also felt that Joubert has had no support from his own bosses.

Cheika said: “I genuinely feel for Craig Joubert. It’s so unfair. No other referee has had this stuff put out there like that and he’s a very good referee,

“I would have liked my mates to back me up a little more on the odd occasion, if you know what I mean. I feel for him.

“We talk about having the right principles in the game and all of that.

“Genuinely I have never seen that before. I am not sure why that decision had to be publicly reviewed and put out there.

“I really hope his fellow referees stand by him because – well, the fact I’m not allowed to say much about it says it all.”

Craig Joubert, the referee, sprints off the pitch after the final whistle during match between Australia and Scotland. Photo

Craig Joubert sprints off the pitch after the final whistle during match between Australia and Scotland. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Cheika added that this was not the most surprising call of the World Cup and even speculated that Scotland were fortunate to qualify for the knockout round at the expense of Japan. He felt that the important try scored by the Scots in the must-win match against Samoa had an element doubt about it.

He said: “I don’t know if Samoa are making a list about the little knock-on before Scotland scored at the end, or how many more we are going to send in,”

He added: “It’s a bit surprising because no other decision in the tournament’s been reviewed,”

“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.”

He also said that now was not the moment to review the use of the TMO system.

He said: “If we go to the TMO for every decision… the first game of the World Cup lasted almost two hours and the TMOs were lambasted,

“If we check everything we might kick-off on a Saturday afternoon and finish sometime Sunday evening. It just can’t happen.”

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