London - Australia coach Michael Cheika has fired back at
Eddie Jones by insisting it is England rather than Australia who scrum
England boss Jones riled his native Australia by calling for
a pre-match meeting with referee Jaco Peper ahead of Saturday's clash at
Twickenham to discuss his concerns about the Wallabies' scrum.
But Cheika said Jones, once his team-mate at Sydney club
Randwick, had to get his own house in order after prop Dan Cole was sin-binned
for collapsing a scrum during England's 27-14 win at home to Argentina last
"I think the important thing there to note is that he's
got to be looking at his own players because they're the ones who have a prop
with a yellow card and that same prop's been infringing the law since his
career started, probably if not all of this year," Cheika said on Tuesday.
Cheika, in a thinly veiled reference to Cole's play during
England's 3-0 series win in Australia in June, added: "It's up to the ref
whether he gets influenced by that really after the guy's been boring in and
falling down all of June in the series we played against them."
The Australia coach stressed his side scrummed correctly.
"We scrum square," he said. "We've got an
Argentinian scrum coach and all we do is scrum square and try to get as much
weight as possible."
Cheika added that Australia props Scott Sio and James
Slipper had been undone at the scrum by Cole not because of any technical
deficiencies of their own, but rather as a result of the England front-row's
"In the summer that's what happened to Scotty and James
- Cole's experience in that way and turning in and pulling down just got the
better of them and they weren't able to deal with it."
It is standard practice before an international for coaches
to meet with a referee in order to get some idea of how a particular official
will interpret rugby union's complex rulebook.
But Cheika said Jones, whom he had previously accused of
being "vitriolic" towards Australia, the team he guided to a 2003
World Cup final defeat by England in Sydney, now had a different attitude
towards such encounters.
"It's funny how your tune changes because in the summer
when we asked for those meetings he (Jones) was blowing up, he stormed out of
one," said Cheika.
Rugby Union is unusual in allowing coaches to meet with a
referee in the lead-up to a Test match and Cheika questioned whether the
practice should continue.
"I don't think the refs like those meetings anyway but
they're the rules so we were only asking," he said.
"There's no other sport where a coach is meeting a
referee the day before a game on their own.
"We sign a million integrity forms now at World Rugby
and do courses, but I still don't understand how the referee meets the coach
before the game on his own."
England head into Saturday's match on a 13-game unbeaten
run, having won all 12 of their internationals under Jones since the former
Japan coach took charge following last year's World Cup.
Australia, meanwhile, will be looking to recover from a
27-24 loss to Ireland in Dublin last Saturday that ended their hopes of
emulating the 1984 Wallabies by completing a Grand Slam of wins over the Home