Cheika expects England to 'bully' Wallabies

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika expects England to try and ‘bully’ his side at Twickenham this weekend.

Cheika spoke last year about England’s tactics at the ruck, targetting their halves and tackling them early, and it was an element he brought up again on Thursday.

“Obviously they are a big side, strong, they are a very powerful side, they will try bully us around,” he said.

“They try (to) bully us at scrum, at the lineout and at the ruck - trying to get into it, niggle, trying to get into our half back after he passes, the 10 after he passes.

“There is so much footage of that, (they) wait for us to crack. They have very good players so they take opportunities when they come.”

Nick Phipps was targeted by England in June last year. Photo: Getty ImagesIt was a tactic that rattled the Wallabies particularly in the June Series last year, but Cheika said they simply had to shake off the moves when Saturday came around.

"I won’t highlight it to the ref, what’s the point? It’s part of the game,” he said.

“I’m not complaining. It’s what happens. You know that when you play the game at the line.

“It’s not like it’s physical. You are going to get tackled in footy.

“It’s just a mindset of saying, ‘That is going to happen, so get up and get going to the next thing’.”

England coach Eddie Jones dismissed a question on the strategy on Thursday afternoon.

“Ask Michael, I don’t have a response, we play the game legally,” he said.

Flanker Sean McMahon said it was up to the pack to ensure they protected their backs, showing improvement in the attacking breakdown, an area that has been a concern for them in recent Tests.

“It is something we need to focus on, the attacking breakdown and make sure we are protecting our halves and making sure we are clearing out properly to give clean ball to the rest of the team,” he said.

“The back row and forward pack are really going to concentrate on that this weekend.”

Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham squarely put the pressure on Jones earlier this week, saying that he was spoilt with his resources at the RFU and Cheika agreed on one front, but praised Jones’s use of the privilege.

“I don’t think spoiled as in he is lucky but that is the nature of what you have got over here (in England),” he said.

“You have got heaps of cash, that is not being rude – it is true compared to what we have got.

“We are struggling to get a lot of things going when it comes to money back home and then you have still got to do something with it and that is what Eddie has been able to do.

“He is using the resources, it is good to have them and he has used them wisely.”

Australia takes on England on Saturday November 18, kicking off at 3pm local, 2am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports and SBS.