Jones vs Cheika just fun and games

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

England coach Eddie Jones says there’s nothing personal about the to-and-fro between he and Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika, as he took another swipe at his Australian counterpart on Thursday.

Jones dismissed the exchanges as a bit of 'fun', speaking at England’s team announcement press conference on Thursday.

“Not at all. I like to have fun, mate. This week’s been fun, We’ve had a great week here preparing. The media’s had fun – good headlines,”- Eddie Jones

“Cheika’s had fun and everyone’s enjoying it. It’s great for rugby.

“There’s nothing better than an Australia-England rivalry is there? I think it’s fantastic. It’s been a great week."

Eddie Jones wants his side's preparation to be perfect. Photo; Getty ImagesJones was the more outspoken one when the two teams met in June, but this time around Cheika has matched him in the chatter stakes, saying the former Wallabies mentor had tarnished his legacy in Australia, with his comments this season.

“We’ve had a great week. We set out what we wanted to do at the start of the week, got the ball rolling and then all we worry about is our preparation,” Jones said.

“It’s uncontrollable. It’s not for me to decide what my legacy is.

“It’s for other people to decide. So why would I worry about it? Do you think I’m the sort of person that worries about people’s opinion of me?” - Eddie Jones

Jones will be meeting with referee Jaco Peyper on Friday, though it seems Cheika is unlikely to join him.

The pair did both attend referees meetings in June, after Jones met with Romain Poite on his own before the opening Test and the England mentor said he was simply maintaining his usual approach.

“We just wanted to make sure we were up front and tell the Australians we were having a meeting,” he said.

“Last time they whinged and carried on about the fact that they didn't know.

Michael Cheika is not happy. Photo: Getty ImagesCheika earlier in the week said Jones had ‘stormed out’ of one of those June meetings, attended by his assistants Stephen Larkham and Nathan Grey, a suggestion that Jones wasn’t happy about being made public.

“I’ve got different codes of behaviour,” he said.

“I was always brought up that if you have a private meeting it stays private.

“If people choose to have other views on that then go and talk to them about it.

“Nah, it doesn’t annoy me. Everyone’s got their own standards of behaviour, how they want to behave. It doesn’t annoy me.”

As for his team’s chances this weekend, Jones has been quick to ward off any signs of complacency among his players, suggesting their position on the verge of a historic 14th straight Test win.

Dan Cole has copped plenty of heat this week. Photo: Getty Images“I spoke to the players about it this morning. When you win how many games we’ve won in a row that’s when you’re at your most vulnerable,” he said.

“The only way you get over the top of that is to have the correct mindset and that’s an individual responsibility to get right.

“I think from a team perspective we’re in a reasonable state.

“Individually, over the next 48 hours, the players will find their right state and we need them to be right on the ball.”

Australia takes on England at Twickenham on Sunday, kicking off at 1:30am AEDT, LIVE on SBS and beIn Sport (Foxtel Channel 515).