Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and England boss Eddie Jones have met referee Craig Joubert on the eve of Saturday’s second Test at AAMI Park.
The meeting was initiated by the English side and, as per World Rugby regulations, an invitation was extended to Australia to attend as well.
It’s understood Cheika and Jones were both present at the meeting on Friday afternoon, along with other coaches from both sides and South African Joubert, considered one of the game’s top officials.
Speaking before the meeting, English assistant Stuart Borthwick said it was unusual to have representatives from both camps together in the same room as the referee.
“If that’s what the regulations say, then it’s no problem. In my experience, it hasn’t happened before,” Borthwick said.
“It’s a question for them, though. If they want to come along, then that’s fine.
“Meeting the ref is standard practice – before the game each week.
“Craig Joubert is one of the world’s best refs and we have every confidence he will ref the game and scrum well.”
Cheika on Wednesday said he rarely sought out referees before games, and that he had no plans himself on setting up a meeting with Joubert.
Regulation 15.4.2 in the World Rugby handbook states that while coaches are permitted to meet referees before international fixtures, it is only allowed if there are representatives from both teams present – that is, unless one side declines the opportunity.
However, it’s believed the rule is only loosely enforced.
It comes after the Wallabies were on the wrong end of a 15-8 penalty count in the opening Test, which gave the tourists the platform to win the match and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Frenchman Romain Poite refereed the Brisbane Test and it’s understood Jones with him before the match.
“We didn’t know last week, so we will (attend the meeting) this week,” Cheika said earlier on Friday.
Cheika claimed the Wallabies would be there purely to “listen”, and that there was no need to clear things up with the referees as they knew where they went wrong last weekend.
“We saw where we went wrong so we know what we need to fix,” he said.
“We’ve got to clear our own things up first before we start worrying about that.
“You want to be in a situation to not even give penalties away, and not even leave those things to interpretation.
“Once we do that, it won’t be an issue for us.”