Reds hold off Waratahs
The Reds ruined Israel Folau's try-scoring debut with a fine win over the Waratahs in Brisbane. Photo: Getty Images
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has called into question a referee's decision not to refer a Mike Harris hit on Adam Ashley-Cooper that left the NSW centre with a neck injury in Brisbane on Saturday.
Harris appeared to put a shoulder on Ashley-Cooper as the centre chased a Drew Mitchell kick down field in the 27th minute of the Waratahs' 25-17 loss to Queensland.
Ashley-Cooper hit the deck, trapping a teammate who tumbled over him and also hit the turf. Ashley-Cooper played out the half but was replaced by Ben Volavola for the second period.
"He's not alright, he took a shot, off the ball, no arms [and] no one does anything about it, the guy can't hardly move in there," Cheika said, adding that the white card referral system was there to be used.
"I don't know what [captain Dave Dennis] said on the field but from my end he gets hit with no arm, no ball, comes off the field and nothing happens ... we got a penalty [but] I had a player cited for bumping into a guy on the kick-off at the trials."
Ashley-Cooper was seen walking around stiffly after the match. Volavola, who scored a try on debut after replacing his teammate, said Ashley-Cooper needed scans.
"Hopefully it will unspasm but he's not moving much at the moment," Cheika said.
"We don't know where he's going to end up now but we'll see how he looks, give it a chance to settle down a bit."
The Waratahs were downcast at the after match press conference despite the second half turnaround that saw them match the Reds at 17-17 and wrest back momentum before a second try to Reds centre Ben Tapuai put the home side out of reach.
"We have to learn how to play under pressure, simple," Cheika said. "We will learn how to play under pressure more often ... and the more we do it the better we'll get at it."
"We showed that we've got good potential, we showed that we're prepared to work hard ... we show that we're prepared to play a new style - sometimes to our own detriment - but we're committed to doing that because it's the way to teach ourselves to go forward."
Dennis said the pressure came from within and led to errors.
"We were in control of that game once we got back to 17-17 and the momentum was all with us and for some reason we felt we were under pressure, where the reality was we had them under the pump," Dennis said. "It's just a mindset we've got to change."