More questions than answers as World Cup semis are decided
THE question being asked immediately after Scotland was knocked out of the World Cup by Australia thanks to a last-minute penalty kick from Bernard Foley, was why referee Craig Joubert didn't check the most crucial of calls with the TMO.
Perhaps the question that should have been asked was: Would it have mattered who won?
The Wallabies will now face a new-look Argentina in one semi-final after the Pumas showed uncharacteristic flair to overcome Ireland 43-20 to make it a quarter-final clean sweep for southern hemisphere teams for the first time in the competition's history.
The other semi-final will see the All Blacks take on South Africa, and after its 62-10 demolition of France, it seems a miracle is the only thing capable of stopping New Zealand becoming the first team to claim back-to-back World Cup titles.
For Australia to have a shot at its third title, it will need to improve significantly on the 35-34 win over the brave Scots, the victory coming after Joubert penalised them for offside, a decison that sparked an outcry on social media and handed Foley the opportunity to win the match.
While Scotland coach Vern Cotter was reluctant to buy into the debate immediately after the match, Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika said it was a case of sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.
"After many years of after-match reactions and perhaps saying the wrong things, I've learned that you have to live with the ones that go your way and live with the ones that don't," he said. "I've become quite neutral on these topics. You just have to deal with it."
While the Wallabies lived to fight another day, Cheika will be sweating on the fitness of fullback Israel Folau (ankle), flanker David Pocock (calf) and prop Scott Sio (elbow).
Folau and Pocock were ruled out of the game against Scotland, with Pocock's influence at the breakdowns badly missed, while Sio, one of the stars of the tournament for Australia, was forced off in the second half with an elbow problem.
Australia will need all hands on deck against Argentina which thoroughly deserved its win over Ireland.
The Pumas appear to have added some expansive play to their northern hemisphere-style game plan of trying to dominate at the set pieces, a strategy that has been widely blamed for the fact four southern hemisphere teams have reached the semi-finals for the first time.
Writing in The Times, former England lock Paul Ackford summed up the view by saying matches were no longer controlled by the side with the best set-piece, adding "It's about time those up north caught on."