Wallabies want ref to cut down NZ stall poppies
THE Wallabies hope referee Nigel Owens will police All Blacks “loitering” that saw frustrated halfback Nick Phipps blow his radar and his stack in Sydney.
Phipps has endured a week of criticism after a rough night and a trip to the sin bin during the Wallabies’ 27-19 win, a public response exacerbated by the matchwinning cameo of his replacement Nic White.
Coach Michael Cheika will name his side today and either could start, with Phipps exonerated by coaching staff for his struggle to link with No.10 Bernard Foley given the routine interference of All Blacks defenders at the back of the ruck.
Cheika first pointed to the issue when defending Phipps after the game.
“I don’t think the combination didn’t work, I thought we had a few erratic passes. That often comes from the ruck,” Cheika said.
“Often we found a black jersey in between the ruck and the halfback. Nick Phipps wasn’t quite sure whether he should ruck that guy or step over and pass the ball from there, and it did cause him a few problems.’’
From the very first tackle, a review of the game throws up examples of New Zealanders obstructing Phipps from getting to the ball for a quick recycle; one of his strengths and a foundation stone of the Cheika game plan.
More than is usual, Phipps was forced to pass over All Blacks players lying at his feet or getting up slowly in his way, seeing the No.9 tripped up or even blocked from getting to the ball.
After one stray pass, Phipps yelled at referee Wayne Barnes to “get him (Jerome Kaino) out of there’’ but was told “it was your pass, not him’’.
Just before his sin-binning for a hot-headed offside tackle, Phipps was cleaned up by Dan Carter, who was getting up after making a tackle. Barnes was a metre away.