Cheika anticipating Jones matchup

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is looking forward to going toe-to-toe with Alan Jones when the Barbarians come to town in October.

Jones, who has been a vocal critic of the ARU amid the Super Rugby limbo this season, was unveiled as the world side’s coach for the October 28 clash at Allianz Stadium last weekend.

Cheika said Jones, as well as other former Wallabies coaches, had been someone he leaned on for advice since returning to Australia in 2013. 

“He’s a fantastic coach for Australia, the ‘84 grand slam, just the way he came into the game with his background and really took it by the scruff of the neck back then and he’s spoken so highly of by a lot of the players he coached,” he said.

“He’s been a big help to me, a big supporter of mine. 

“I’m not sure why, but since day one since I came back with the Tahs, he’s always been helping me out with stuff and I think it’s going to be good fun.

Alan Jones will be back in the tracksuit in October. Photo: Getty Images“We’ll have a bit of fun there and I think it’s excellent that he’s going to be part of it and it’s going to create a lot of interest as well and I think also from that point for the Baabaas to bring their game to Australia is a great idea.

“We’re always playing those Barbarians teams overseas and it’s a great opportunity for Australian people to come and see Barbarians footy and our team up against it.”

Cheika said he wasn’t worried by Jones’ stance on the administration side of the game, saying his comments come from a good place.

“Knowing Alan now for a bit, he’s only critical of the administration because he loves the game and he wants the game to be popular and he wants everyone who loves the game to come together,” he said.

“I think one of the reasons he probably agreed to do this is because he shows that spirit and I think sometimes, we’ve talked about it a lot this season, people get critical because they’re hurt, because they want things to get better because it’s the game they love and I know for Jones it’s like that.”

The Barbarians are also set to take on a Classic Wallabies side in Lismore, in NSW’s north, ahead of the Sydney clash on October 24.

The Classics will be made up of Classic Wallabies, Sevens, U20s and NRC players.

The Wallabies take on the Barbarians in Sydney on October 28. Vote for the kick-off time here. Tickets on sale on Monday July 24.