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
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
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."