"We got hit early but we stayed on our feet and we got back into it," said Cheika.
"We missed opportunities in the second half which probably cost us. We missed a goal which would have made it 16-15 and Rob Kearney's break, you have to take those opportunities.
"Conversely down the other end we made a game saving play when Josh Lewey made a break.
"I am disappointed we lost the game but we are still in charge of our own destiny although if we want to be sure of ourselves we need a bonus point next week."
The uncontested scrums came about after CJ Van Der Linde injured his foot and Stan Wright suffered a neck injury. Both players came through late fitness tests to start.
Cheika explained: "CJ has injured his foot again. He came good yesterday and we decided to start him. It is Stan Wright's neck.
"We had doubts up to yesterday (Friday) but we made certain decisions. They obviouly didn't all work out because CJ reinjured his foot almost immediately."