'He's always operated with a chip on his shoulder'

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has slammed Eddie Jones’s suggestion that Australia and its media disrespected England in June, describing his angst as a ‘furphy’

Jones has repeatedly brought up an awkward exchange between he and his former charge Stephen Hoiles, who now works for Fox Sports, as an example of the lack of respect.

The Wallabies camp has maintained Jones rang Hoiles in June and the pair made up, well before his latest jabs.

Cheika said he, and the rest of the Australian team and media, had plenty of respect for their opponents.

“Mate, that whole thing is a furphy, he’s just geeing up,” he said.

“He’s a good Australian coach who took Australia in a World Cup that we didn’t expect to go fantastic in to the final.

“He’s respected for that by me as a former teammate of his and as a player. I think you saw when he was in Australia that he got a lot of respect. - Michael Cheika

“He’s always operated with a chip on his shoulder and now that there’s not a chip because he’s going really well, he’s got to keep looking for it.

“I think he’s very respected in Australia. I don’t know where that unrespected bit comes from.”

Cheika also bristled at comments from Wallaby legend Glen Ella that the Australia coach was still ‘having nightmares’ over the June result.

Glen Ella and Eddie Jones are back on their old stomping ground. Photo: Getty ImagesElla, who worked as a temporary skills coach with England in Australia in June, said Cheika lost the battle against Jones in the midyear series and would still be having some nasty dreams about the situation.

"This is the game Cheik's after," he said.

"Eddie dominated him big time in June. Cheik's advisors got it wrong and he's probably still having nightmares."

"Australia are going to be really dangerous. They feel at home at Twickenham after the World Cup – they're comfortable. On their day, they can beat anyone."

Ella also said Cheika overreacted to treatment of the Wallabies in New Zealand media, with the Australia mentor labelling the New Zealand Herald disrespectful over a cartoon depicting him in a Wallabies jersey as a clown.

“Cheik reacted too harshly to the clown thing,' he said . 'You can't bite at everything that happens otherwise you're going to die of a heart attack.

'Sometimes he just got a little bit caught out. You've got to pick your time to go off.

It’s not the first time Ella has criticised Cheika this year and the Australia coach has previously hit back at his comments and expressed his disappointment over Ella’s public celebrations of victory over his home nation in June.

He did not let up on Thursday, saying Ella was only in it for the good times with the Wallabies.

"It’s funny you know everyone’s up the front of the bus when they’ve had a win, a guy like Glen in particular.

“He’s always up the front of the bus for a handout when he’s had a win. But when it’s tough and you’ve got to run uphill, haven’t seen that bloke or haven’t seen a few of those blokes around.”

Cheika went so far as to suggest Ella and other former Wallabies who have publicly criticised Australia this year might be after his job.

Michael Cheika has hit back at Eddie Jones and Glen Ella. Photo: Getty Images“Any Aussie – I don’t think he’s working with England anymore – any Aussie that would be supporting England against Australia, especially a guy that has played for the Wallabies, there’s got to be a reason why,” he said.

“I don’t know if he’s bitter. Maybe they want to get us kicked out and have a job there I’m not sure.

“He’s got to have a reason. I’m upset about losing at the time, of course, yeah and you get over it, but for the year as a whole?

“Mate, I think we’ve improved and we’re going well and we’ll stay working on our things and when the bigger tournaments come around we’ll see if that plan worked out or not for both sides.”

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