Australia coach Michael Cheika could face disciplinary action for his reaction during the 30-6 defeat by England on Saturday after confusion arose over a comment that he made in response to a disallowed try.
Cheika raged at a number of decisions from referee Ben O’Keeffe and television match official Simon McDowell, with the Wallabies having two tries disallowed, two players sent to the sin-bin and a controversial score given to England on their way to a record victory over their fierce rivals.
The Australian head coach reacted most angrily to Michael Hooper’s try being chalked off, with O’Keeffe checking with the TMO to see whether the Wallabies skipper was offside at the time when centre Tevita Kuridrani kicked the ball forwards. When O’Keeffe confirmed that he was – and subsequently ruled out the try and awarded a penalty to England – Cheika applauded sarcastically and muttered what appeared to be “f****** genius” under his breath – though there have been suggestions that he actually said “f****** cheat”.
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Those allegations have caught the attention of the match disciplinary officer, Jon Davis, who has reviewed footage of the incident that was caught by television cameras – the same one that caught England head coach Eddie Jones swearing last weekend when he muttered “f***, how f****** stupid are we?” in response to conceding a penalty.
No action has been taken against Cheika, but he could yet face disciplinary charges if World Rugby finds that he did use the word “cheat”. Speaking with BeIN Sports after the match, Cheika denied using the word and walked out of the interview soon after.
“Not at all, no, I never said…” Cheika answered. “Is that what it’s coming down to? I’m trying to have an interview without trying to get stuck into that and you want to try and keep making it. Maybe I did swear. It happens sometimes in life. Has it happened to…