LONDON – Australia coach Michael Cheika has avoided punishment after being investigated over allegations of a foul-mouthed rant at officials during the Wallabies’ crushing loss to England last weekend.
Cheika was infuriated by several decisions that went against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday, and when a Michael Hooper try was disallowed in the first half, he appeared to mouth an expletive in reference to the ruling made by referee Ben O’Keeffe.
When asked during a broadcast interview if he had actually mouthed an expletive and called New Zealand’s O’Keeffe a “cheat”, Cheika ended the interview.
He was also caught on camera sarcastically applauding decisions that went against Australia in the 30-6 defeat and twice walked down the steps from the coaches’ box to the touchline to remonstrate with officials.
Autumn international disciplinary officials had probed the incidents for several days, and on Thursday announced a warning was sufficient censure for Cheika.
“Mr Cheika and the Australian Rugby Union co-operated with the investigation, which has now been completed,” a statement read.
“In light of Mr Cheika’s explanations of his conduct, his clear understanding of the need to protect and promote the interests of the sport, and his open apology for any offence caused, the Disciplinary Officer for the Autumn Internationals (in consultation with World Rugby) has decided not to pursue any disciplinary proceedings against Mr Cheika.
“The Disciplinary Officer has, however, urged Mr Cheika to be aware of the risks during matches, when he knows he will be filmed and potentially broadcast, and where possible to moderate his conduct and language accordingly. Mr Cheika has accepted the position.”