Michael Cheika hits back at Eddie Jones as ongoing feud escalates

The former Leinster boss has accused Jones of making vitriolic comments about Australia

Michael Cheika hits back at Eddie Jones as ongoing feud escalates

David Davies PA Archive/PA Images

The sustained feud between Michael Cheika and Eddie Jones continued today with the Australian head coach accusing Jones of potentially ruining his reputation at home ahead of the teams’ meeting at Twickenham next weekend. 

Relations between the pair have soured since England scored a 3-0 victory over Australia during the summer series. At the time, Jones accused the local media of creating a hostile environment for the English team.

Following their win over Argentina at the weekend, Jones added more acrimony to the situation by making negative comments about Australia's scrum. Speaking to British media, Jones said:

“When we were out there in June, the media were disrespectful to us and I am sure they will be again. We will be prepared for that and we are very keen to speak with the referee [South Africa’s Jaco Peyper] about Australia’s scrummaging. They have issues with it and I will invite their coaching team to come along. It should be fun."

Cheika responded to those statements today and suggested that the former Australia head coach may have compromised his reputation at home.

"There was a lot of vitriol about Australia - his home nation where he coached and where his opportunities were given to him to catch and grow up as a coach and play. Personally, if you're looking to leave a legacy somewhere, you don't want to hit back at it, do you?"

He added:

"In June, maybe I gave the opportunity to see how a former Australian would deal with it. It was a bit like a goalscorer who scores against his old team. I suppose it is always difficult where you go back against a team you have coached before and don't know how to play it. Do you stay reserved or get stuck into them? I know what I would do. Even in a country like Ireland where I coached for many years. But that's the choice he makes if he thinks its best for his team."

Cheika, also remarked on his interest to speak with World Rugby referees’ chief Alain Rolland following his side's 27-24 defeat to Ireland, to discuss the penalty count and Dean Mumm's citing. The flanker has been summoned to a disciplinary meeting for a 'dangerous lifting' tackle on Tadhg Furlong.

Cheika however, doesn't seem optimistic about getting a reply.

"He hasn't got back to me, so I doubt it. You’ll have to ring him and ask him where it's at. I made my calls the other night, and the ball's in their court now. It's probably where Australia is at the moment. We don't have a lot of refs on the panel – only one. We have no high rollers at World Rugby level so we have little say and we have to improve that and get more refs up there. Out of the top-tier nations we have the least representation."