Rugby

Cheika unimpressed by 'clown' attack on Jones

2016-12-03 08:48
Eddie Jones (Getty)

London - Australia coach Michael Cheika said a newspaper had gone too far in depicting England counterpart Eddie Jones as a 'clown' ahead of Saturday's clash at Twickenham.

The former team-mates at Sydney club Randwick have enjoyed plenty of pre-match verbal sparring, each questioning the legality of the other side's scrum.

The hype intensified when Jones was depicted as a clown in Saturday's edition of The Australian newspaper.

That followed a cartoon showing Cheika as an angry clown that appeared in The New Zealand Herald newspaper in October under the banner "Send in the Clowns".

But The Australian said: "Forget Michael Cheika. Eddie Jones is the real clown of the world rugby circus.

"Jones is a master of using black comedy to belittle his adversaries and no one has been the victim of his invective more than Cheika, who in turn has looked bemused and besieged."

But Cheika, speaking Friday, was unimpressed by the newspaper's clown attack.

"Do I think that's funny? I don't think that's funny I think that's poor form myself," he said.

Cheika made no secret of his feelings about his clown portrait after New Zealand's 37-10 win over Australia in Auckland in October saw the world champions set a new record of 18 consecutive Test wins by a leading rugby union nation.

"They dressed us up as clowns today. They put our crest on it, so they wouldn't want our comment," Cheika said when asked for his view on the All Blacks' record-breaking achievement.

"I don't think they respect our comment, anyway, so we won't make one."

Friday saw Jones and Cheika make their final pre-match points, with Jones saying England must break Australia "mentally and physically" if they are to defeat a fired-up Wallaby team in the final international of the year.

England are bidding for a national record-equalling 14th successive Test win and former Australia coach Jones said on Friday: "Michael's upset so he's got his machine gun out, he's firing away at different sorts of people.

"We've just focused on our preparation, getting on with it," he added.

"To beat Australia we've got to break them mentally and physically. We know they're going to come out in the first 20 minutes like there's no tomorrow.

"The players are sharp and on it. They want this game, it's a big game for us. We've prepared well so we're ready to go.

"We've practised, we're equipped to handle it and we'll win the game in the last 20."

Asked if he would meet with Cheika after the game, Jones said: "Handshakes, cold beers, all friends at the end? It might be warm beers, cold pies. We'll see."

Australia playmaker Matt Giteau, now at French club Toulon, appeared for the Wallabies under both Jones and Cheika but suggested the former was better at pre-match mind games.

"I don't think Cheik's overly-big on that type of thing happening in the press," Giteau told Sky Sports.

"When he's had enough he lets people know, but Eddie for me, it looks like he really enjoys it. He's smiling there, and cracking jokes."

Giteau added: "That's just part and parcel of the coach, his personality."

England's winning streak includes a 3-0 Test series triumph in Australia in June and lock George Kruis said the Wallabies would be desperate for revenge.

"There was a lot of niggle throughout that series and I think they were probably left with a bitter taste, so they will be flying," Kruis said.

"This is Australia's last game. They are going to leave everything out there.

"But we will give as good as we get."

Read more on:    wallabies  |  michael cheika  |  rugby
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