LONDON (Reuters) - Australia’s coach and captain struggled to hide their frustration after they found themselves on the wrong side of three key TMO decisions en route to suffering a record 30-6 defeat by England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Despite the result representing England’s biggest winning margin against the Wallabies, the home side were second-best for long periods before a three-try burst in the last eight minutes changed a tight game into a scoreboard thrashing.
It could have all been so different though if a series of decisions by Irish Television Match Official Simon McDowell had not gone the way of the home side.
Australia reached half-time more than a little aggrieved after having a Michael Hooper try ruled out for a controversial offside decision and two men, including captain Hooper, sin-binned late in the first half.
McDowell added to their frustration by ruling a Ben Youngs kick had not skimmed the touchline prior to Elliot Daly collecting it to score England’s first try 14 minutes into the second half.
The key decision, however, came in the 68th minute when Wallaby wing Marika Koroibete forced his way over the line. The TMO ruled that he had touched the ball down, but then decided that replacement hooker Stephen Moore had obstructed England’s defenders.
Instead of drawing level, Australia remained seven points down and in a remarkable last 12 minutes England ran riot with three tries to claim a fifth successive win over the Wallabies.
Australia coach Michael Cheika began his news conference by saying “we’ve got a no excuses culture, we had our chances” but could not resist being dragged into the TMO issue.
“I‘m not going to rank them, it’s not the academy awards,” he said of the three big calls that went against his team.
“The thing I‘m not sure about the process. How many replays for one incident and how many for another? He (the TMO) probably just makes his own mind up whatever he wants.”
Hooper, who was also sin-binned last week against Wales, said he thought he had done everything he could to stay legal in the build-up to his try.
“I was in front of the kicker, I worked back, hands in the air, Marika (Koroibete) put me onside so that’s why I went at the ball,” he said.
“I don’t know what I‘m meant to do there. It’s hard to judge when you’re on the field, but I thought they were both tries.”
To illustrate the confusion around the decision, Sky Sports’ vastly experienced pundit panel of Clive Woodward, Michael Lynagh and Will Greenwood could not agree on whether Hooper should have been ruled offside or whether Koroibete getting a touch with his foot put Hooper back onside.
England coach Eddie Jones, however, had no concerns. “Why do we have referees? Why do we have TMOs? I don’t understand the question,” he said when asked about the decisions.
“How are we lucky? They do 10 replays of the video and they make a decision.”
Instead Jones preferred to focus on England’s strong finish.“We stuck at it. We played smart tactically, reading difficult conditions superbly,” he said.
“The finishers brought energy, vibrancy and creativity - it was a really good squad effort. We had the confidence we would finish the game stronger than they would.”
Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Rex Gowar and Christian Radnedge