Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw asked referee Craig Joubert to refer the decision to award Australia a controversial late penalty which helped them reach the Rugby World Cup semi-finals to the television match official. Joubert gave the two-time champions a penalty in the penultimate minute of the game for offside, despite replays showing Nick Phipps knocking the ball back from a Scotland line-out.

The South African official left the field without delay at full time, to pile scrutiny on a performance which also included him showing a yellow card to Sean Maitland for an intentional knock-on. A referee is only allowed to refer decisions regarding the scoring of a try or foul play to the TMO but Laidlaw has revealed he pleaded with the official.

"I asked him on several occasions [to check with the TMO] but I don't know what the protocols are on that," the 30-year-old said after the 35-34 defeat. "You could see from the way he was taking his time he was certainly looking at the big screens to make sure of himself. He made a sharp exit at the end tat is for sure.

"I think it was Phipps who jumped and it looked like to me he hit off him and went back and our player caught it. At the time I thought there was an Aussie arm. We are not the type of people to blame little things but if we had tightened up in other areas we may not have been in that situation.

"Right at this moment in is pretty difficult to take, there is a pretty upset dressing room. We're one kick way from being in the semi-finals of the World Cup and arguably we should be."

Coach Vern Cotter was more reserved in his assessment of Joubert's performance, stating: "I think we will take time to review the game properly before we pass comment on it. We're not talking as much as we want to but we'll give it a day. We'll take the emotional away and sit back and review the game again. People will be reviewing it."

Bernard Foley kept his nerve to score the resulting penalty as Australia reached the last four, but victory was marred in the eyes of coach Michael Cheika after a performance, though illuminated by five tries also included numerous errors. "If you kick a goal with a minute to win it is a pretty good escape," he said.

"At the end of the day when you score five tries in the quarter-final of a World Cup you expect to be somewhere near the winning end of the game. Although we have massive improvements to make in certain areas we went after it and continued to go after it.

"We didn't go to a kicking game and maybe that was a bit naive from me. We want to play the way our identity tells us and what we represent. I thoughout our defence in the first half was not up to scratch. We have to bring the rest of our game as well. If that is an escape I am happy to escape. I think with the five tries we deserved to be up there."