JOHANNESBURG – Australia coach Michael Cheika took positives from his side's 35-17 Rugby Championship loss to South Africa at Ellis Park on Saturday, but was left to rue a yellow card for prop Taniela Tupou that he believes was a game-changer.
Cheika wants his side to play more with the ball in hand going into the Rugby World Cup in Japan, and at times they cut the Springbok defence apart with some incisive attack, but did not have the quality in the finish to punish the home side.
They were not helped by a 54th minute sin-bin for Tupou when they trailed 14-10, which allowed the Boks to score 14 points in the next 10 minutes.
"It was the wrong call," Cheika said. "The other guy (Bok player) should have been sent to the sin-bin. The fourth official (should have) focused on the green player who came in with a shoulder charge.
"Tupou came in after that with his arms wrapped and at the right height, so I’m not sure if it just a case that big contact is a penalty these days."