Michael Cheika believes Eddie Jones has tarnished his legacy with Australia, claiming his compatriot unloaded “vitriol” on the Wallabies in June’s Test series with England.
England host Australia on Saturday in an already highly-charged Twickenham clash, but Wallabies boss Cheika has raised the stakes again by hitting back at Jones’ verbal salvos.
Cheika insists former Australia boss Jones damaged his achievements with the Wallabies, that included guiding the nation to the 2003 World Cup final, during England’s 3-0 summer series victory down under.
England coach Jones accused the Australian media of an orchestrated campaign against his side in June – and Cheika now feels his former Randwick team-mate has dented his standing in his homeland.
“There was a lot of vitriol about Australia, his home nation,” said Cheika of England head coach Jones’ verbal sparring during the summer tour of Australia. “It’s where he coached, where the opportunities were given to him to grow up as a coach, and play.
“Personally if you’re looking to leave a legacy somewhere, you don’t want to hit back at it when you leave.”
England boss Jones reignited the war of words with Cheika ahead of Saturday’s Twickenham clash with Australia, by hinting at illegal scrummaging from the Wallabies.
Jones has demanded a meeting with referee Jaco Peyper, to focus on the Wallabies’ set-piece play – and Cheika laughed off those tactics from the England boss in the immediate aftermath of Australia’s 27-24 loss to Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.
But on Monday morning in London Cheika suggested Jones had previously pushed the verbal jousting too far.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure what’s gone on after Saturday, but I’m sure he’ll be into it,” said Cheika, of Jones’ mind games. “In June I sort of gave the opportunity to see how a former Australian would deal with it. It’s a bit like the goal-scorer who scores against his old team, you know?
“I suppose it’s always difficult when you go back into a tournament where you’re playing teams you’ve coached before. And you don’t really know how to play it, do you stay reserved or do you go out there and get stuck into them? I know what I do, even in a country like Ireland when I’m there where I coached for many years.
“I didn’t coach the national team there, but that’s the choice he wants to make, and he thinks is best for his team.”
Australia boss Cheika was left fuming with the heavy penalty count against his side in Saturday’s loss to Ireland in Dublin.
The former Leinster boss admitted afterwards that he would seek a meeting with referees’ boss Alain Rolland to cite his concerns. But on Monday Cheika admitted he was yet to receive a reply from Rolland.
When asked if he would be speaking with Rolland on Monday, Cheika said: “He hasn’t got back to me, so I doubt it. I’ve got nothing here now, I’ve got nothing. You’ll have to ring him and ask him where it’s at.”
Cheika admitted he remains unsurprised at England boss Jones’ apparent ease at organising meetings with referees and officials in contrast to Australia’s struggles.
“Well that’s probably a little bit where Australia’s at at the moment,” said Cheika, of the two coaches’ perceived contrasting relationships with the officials. “We don’t have a lot of referees on the panel, we’ve only got one on the panel.
“We don’t have any high-rollers at World Rugby level, so we have very little say at the moment in those areas. And we’ve got to improve, that’s part of our thing.
“We’ve got to get more referees up there and involved at that level, because of the top-tier nations we have the least representation at the referee’s table.”
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Cheika: Jones has tarnished Australia legacy
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