Cheika fumes at Skelton brain fade in win over Scotland
RUGBY UNION: Michael Cheika has scolded forward Will Skelton after he almost cost the Wallabies a win over Scotland and brought an abrupt end to their grand slam dream.
The Australians managed to scrape through at Murrayfield with a 23-22 victory no thanks to the returning Skelton, who Cheika had only just welcomed back to the side after being dumped in August.
The powerful lock entered the fray against Scotland with 18 minutes to play and the Wallabies down by six points, 22-16.
It wouldn't be long before the 140kg leviathan would make an impact on the game, but not in the way Cheika would have envisaged.
With the Wallabies having been awarded a penalty five metres out from the Scots' tryline in the 69th minute, Skelton crudely launched into Johnny Gray at a ruck without bothering to wrap his arms around the defender.
The brain fade meant the penalty was overturned and Skelton was sin-binned, leaving Cheika fuming.
"It's fair, he's got to put his arms around that guy and he knows that, it's ill-disciplined from him,” he said.
"Those decisions come down to the ref - whether it's a penalty or a yellow - but, regardless, it's an offence. He doesn't have to do it.
"It's after the whistle. We had our own penalty ... it wasn't clever.
"He knows that himself. I don't even need to tell him so I don't think he'll be worried about me saying it here.”
It took a superb individual try to Tevita Kuridrani in the 76th minute to avert disaster, with Bernard Foley converting and giving the Wallabies the lead for the first time in the match.
"You never like to go a man down but we've been in that situation before,” Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore said.
"I was proud of the effort, the boys dug in there.
"Scotland are always so tough here. We have a lot of respect for them”
Australia was forced to play catch-up after falling behind 10-0 in the first 10 minutes. To make matters worse, lock Adam Coleman went off with a knee injury.
Coleman will know on Monday the extent of the damage and whether his tour is over.
The Wallabies, attempting to become the first Australian team since 1984 to complete the grand slam, meet France in Paris next Sunday (AEST) ahead of games against Ireland and England.
Rob Simmons impressed after coming off the bench to take over line-out duties from the injured Coleman, while Israel Folau was also a standout in his 50th appearance for the Wallabies.