Samu Kerevi left bemused by penalty controversy

A bemused Samu Kerevi thinks it might be time he takes a look at the NRL after he gave away a penalty for a raised forearm on replacement Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell during the Wallabies' 29-25 loss Sunday night.

The Wallabies produced a mighty comeback after falling behind 23-8 at halftime but still fell four points short of a famous win in a match that wasn't short on talking points, the biggest of which were three separate Television Match Official reviews by Romain Poite.

Both Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper and Wales winger Josh Adams were pinged for high tackles upon review, but Kerevi was penalised for running straight into Patchell with a raised forearm that seemed to rise up off the chest and collect the fly-half's neck.

For his part, Kerevi wasn't even aware he could be penalized for such an offence and, given what had been a tumultuous week of discussion following Reece Hodge's citing and subsequent three-week ban, thought it might time to check out the rival Australian code whose rules are not as severe on dangerous play.

"The run I did, the way rugby's going I may as well join the NRL next because of how they police it," Kerevi said with a smile. "It's hard decision for the referees, obviously I understand that; I guess I've got to change the technique, the way I run. But I guess everyone's already talking about, I've respect what the referee decides and I've just got to move on from that."

Alluding to World Rugby's crackdown on high tackles and their desire for defenders to tackle low, Kerevi could see the irony of his situation -- particularly given his circumstances were remarkably similar to the Hodge incident even though he was the one carrying the ball.

"The type of tackle should be going low; I thought that was what we were meant to do," Kerevi said when asked if he needed to change his running style. "So he's going low and I'm going high.

"This is not a contact sport, this is a collision sport, and if you want to play touch, go play basketball. But we're here to run straight at people, use feet, whatever. But I think he's just doing his job, I'm just trying to do mine.

"I don't have to do too much to change the way I play, the boys are really getting around me. I think I've just got to be careful and not put my team in that situation because I feel like I let the team down. And obviously he [Patchell] slotted a penalty from there, so that's three points they could have gone without."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was already angry with rugby's officialdom over the three-match ban handed out to winger Hodge for a dangerous tackle in Australia's first match against Fiji, and now he's been moved to near apoplexy by the Kerevi decision.

Cheika suggested in his eyes that Kerevi's approach to the tackle looked remarkably similar to that of Fiji flanker Peceli Yato in the incident that earned Hodge his ban.

"It was pretty funny, because I thought I had seen it before, might have been Reece Hodge, I am not sure," Cheika said with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

"When our player does it, we get suspended and then this time we get penalised. As a former rugby player, I am embarrassed about it. As a player, I am embarrassed about it."

Cheika was asked whether it was concerning that he, as a national team coach, was not aware of the directive under which Kerevi was penalised.

"I don't know every directive. Lots of them come out," he said. "I think he put his arm into his chest. I don't know if that is illegal or not. I don't know anymore. I don't know the rules anymore, honestly.

"Everyone seems worried about stuff so much. I don't know why. The players aren't worried. It affects everything else on the field too, decisions on all sorts of crazy stuff."

Australia captain Michael Hooper remonstrated with Poite after the Kerevi decision and said he remained perplexed about the penalty.

"I don't know how to carry into a player, as a player I am trying to make a dominant carry," said Hooper.

"[Patchell] has used poor tackle technique and fallen back. I don't know what Samu could do. I was asking what we could do in the future to make sure that didn't happen again.

"If it is going to be a factor in the game, we have to deal with it."

Wales coach Warren Gatland, meanwhile, was full of praise for his side, lauding the maturity of the Six Nations Champions in seeing the game out.

"This team and squad have really grown up in terms of game management," Gatland said. "It is something that has improved significantly. It was good also in the autumn and at the Six Nations. They have learned a lot and matured as players."

"We showed some real character under pressure and then there was the couple of turnovers that we got towards the end of the game," he said.

"We had a six-day turnaround, Georgia wasn't an easy game and I picked the same team... and we were under a lot of pressure in the second half but I think our composure and fitness levels were very good."

Information from Reuters was used in this report.