Rugby

Cheika dodges Jones jabs

2016-06-06 08:34
Michael Cheika (Gallo)

Brisbane - Australia coach Michael Cheika on Monday refused to rise to comments from Eddie Jones on Monday after his England counterpart threw some verbal jabs ahead of this week's Test series opener.

The pair are friends and former team-mates from their days at Sydney club Randwick but Cheika steered clear of engaging in a war of words before Saturday's game in Brisbane.

Jones, who led England to a Grand Slam in the Six Nations this year in his first season in charge, has been sniping away since his squad arrived last Thursday.

He suggested Cheika was playing a "smoke and mirrors" game and "boxing clever" over the make-up of his extended match day squad for the opening match.

Jones, who suggested a pan-Australian conspiracy when he had his bags searched by customs at Brisbane airport, even had a guess at naming the Wallabies' likely backline.

But Cheika, who coached Australia to last year's World Cup final after thumping England 33-13 in the pool stages, was not taking the bait.

"It hasn't been nasty. He's just doing what he thinks his team needs," Cheika told reporters.

"He thinks his team might need this obviously, so that's what he's doing to support his team, which is only normal for a coach to do.

"We probably look at it a slightly different way. We're working internally, I suppose, around our mental strength."

Cheika said he will instead focus his energies on getting the Wallabies ready to perform.

"My focus is very much with our team," he said. "I very much want to dedicate all the energy I have to our guys and making sure I'm doing my job properly.

"I don't want my players to think that all that stuff is going to win us the game.

"But at the end of the day what will win us the game is hard work, aggression, speed, good skills, hunger and being prepared to do whatever it takes and that's what I want to build into our lads this week."

In 17 previous meetings in Australia, the Wallabies have won all but three Tests and never lost in four encounters in Brisbane.

Read more on:    australia  |  michael cheika  |  rugby
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