The battle between Eddie Jones and Michael Cheika has been an interesting tete-a-tete in the week for the first Test, as much for Cheika’s relative silence as anything Jones has said.
There is a third point in a Randwick triangle who can give unique insight into both men - new England skills coach Glen Ella.
Ella is working with the England backs in Australia, honing their skills, as they prepare to adapt to a more free-flowing style of play.
Cheika, Jones and Ella all played together at Randwick, in an era when Wallabies packed out club rugby sides each week.
Ella looked fondly back on those days, on his first official media duties in his new position, and could draw some parallels between the sparring coaches.
“Playing in those days we had (Wallabies winger David) Campese, we had six or seven Wallabies running around with that pack, with Eddie playing hooker and Cheik playing lock, they were good days,” he said.
“We look back and shake our head sometimes at how good it was.
“Cheik and Eddie are similar, they’re passionate they’re through in their preparation and they want to win.”
While Jones has said he’s not particularly keen to have a catch up over a schooner during the series, Ella said the trio would surely have a chance to reminisce once the dust settled.
“That’s the great thing about rugby is you can play a game and you can belt the other guy in the mouth and come back and have a drink afterwards.
“That’s the ethos of rugby and I’m sure when we go on the field we’ll have a bit of a snarl at each other but we’ll shake hands and have a beer afterwards.
While Ella has known Cheika for decades, he said he didn’t necessarily have the keys to Cheika’s entire rugby brain, one that developed as he’s worked through the coaching ranks, through he could be sure of the Wallabies mentor’s hunger for improvement .
“He’s done a great job for NSW obviously and he did a great job for the world cup last year with a short preparation so and he’s bouding all the time,” he said.
“He won’t just be happy with that performance.
“Like us, we’ve got new players, he’s got some new players in his squad so he’ll be advancing.”
Ella said he wasn’t thinking of taking the England position on permanently right now, but didn’t entirely rule it out.