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Cheika concedes to ref calls but some enraged him

REACTION: Michael Cheika, head coach of Argentina, said he had to accept referee Angus Gardners’ calls in the semifinal against New Zealand although he did not agree with some of them, especially in the first half.


The Australian was clearly unhappy with certain aspects of the refereeing, more specifically those pertaining to the rucks.

“I wasn’t very happy with the refereeing in the first half, especially in the rucks. I think it’s his way of doing things. Every time we were in their 22 we encountered the same problem,” Cheika said during the post-match press conference.

“In over 20 years I’ve realised whether I like it or not, I can’t change it.”

He said he could not see what the Los Pumas did wrong in the rucks and scrums.

“We didn’t do what we needed to do in the rucks and scrums and I’m not quite sure why. On a few important scums before end of first-half we had good position but we lost the ball going forward.

“We lost possession and had a try scored against us. The same thing happened at start of second-half.


“It went from 15-6 to 27-6. From that point it became very difficult. That’s the basics.

“The backs did a lot of good running but we were missing one or two phases to break down the All Blacks.

“It is the highest level of World Cup and things we can do in a Test match here are not enough.

“If we need 20 passes, we have to make them.”


The coach admitted that mistakes against the All Blacks will cost a team dearly.

“Against a team like New Zealand the slightest mistake is fatal. They are so efficient They converted all our mistakes into points.

“There is not going to be any changes to the game plan. It is important to finish third in this World Cup. We need to learn from this semifinal and finish third. It will take two or three days to recover physically and mentally, but we will be back.”

He made it clear that he doesn’t like losing.

“I’ve played rugby and I don’t like losing, never. It is not a sad moment, it’s a moment I’m proud for my team. We were in the semi-final of a World Cup.

“We have invested a lot in this. I am sad for them. The players so much wanted to win for their country, for the fans, for the people back in Argentina.

“It’s hard and it’s a good thing that it’s hard but on Friday we will be there, no doubt. We cannot leave this way. We will learn from it and be back stronger.

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“I didn’t cry afterwards. My children cried. Emotions are important but me, I don’t cry but that’s because my job is not over yet. On Friday we will have played seven games in the World Cup. Only four teams will have played four games.”

He said the team will bounce back and prepare for their bronze final.

“We will carry on and give the best of ourselves. This week is important. We want to finish third. We need to learn from this semifinal. Right now we are hurting, we’re hurting inside but we will be ready for Friday.”

Julián Montoya, the Los Pumas captain, said he was very emotional and sad as their dream of playing in the World Cup final evaporated.

“I am sad. Our dream has flown away and for all of us this is just terrible. We will take a day or two then we will have another final to play.”

On his message to fans:

“The World Cup isn’t over. We still have a week to go. I know it’s difficult to come from Argentina to Europe but people still came. Next week we will finish in the best way possible.”


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