Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he has no plan to meet with referee Craig Joubert before the second Test despite being stung by a lop-sided penalty count in the series opener against England.
The Wallabies struggled with French referee Romain Poite’s interpretations at the scrum and the breakdown in Brisbane and were penalised 15 times to England’s eight, giving the tourists the platform to seal a 39-28 victory and take the series lead.
South African referee Joubert, who oversaw last year’s World Cup quarter-final between Australia and Scotland and the 2011 World Cup final, will officiate Saturday’s crucial clash at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
But Cheika won’t seek any clarification from him prior to the Test and will instead rely on Joubert – considered one of rugby’s top officials – to be on the lookout for what the coach described as England’s “niggle” tactics.
“I haven’t organised anything. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t actually know that that’s a given every Test match,” Cheika said.
“I don’t (meet with referees) very often so I wouldn’t know.”
It’s understood England coach Eddie Jones met with Poite prior to the first Test and will do so again with Joubert this week in Melbourne.
Joubert is already under pressure after former Wallaby figures Bob Dwyer and Phil Kearns claimed England prop Dan Cole used illegal scrum tactics to get on top in Brisbane.
Cheika reiterated his belief that his players weren’t assertive enough in the clinches at Suncorp Stadium and left too many decisions in Poite’s hands.
“That’s the way she rolls – some days you get the calls, sometimes you don’t,” he said.
“You’ve got to be better than relying on 50-50s. We got ourselves in the situation to rely on too many 50-50s because we weren’t saying, ‘this is what I’m going to do, this is how I’m going to do it and then we’ll see what happens after that’.
“We won’t make that mistake this week.
“We’ll be fully committed to what we’re doing and then we’ll see what happens.”