Wallabies boss Michael Cheika says it ‘hurts’ to see fellow Australians heading up English sports teams.


Cheika was speaking at a media conference in Oita ahead of the quarter-final against England in Oita Stadium on Saturday.

Asked for his assessment of Australian Eddie Jones’ work as England head coach, Cheika added: “He’s been there for a bit now, hasn’t he? He’s done a good job, for sure.

“It always hurts me when there’s an Aussie over there, you know what I mean?

“Trevor Bayliss and Eddie and, I don’t know, Wayne Bennett. You want them at home, but it is what it is. What do you do?

“We respect all our opponents a lot, and obviously the further you go on in the tournament you’ve got to maintain that respect for your opponent.

Earlier in the week Australian rugby league coach Ricky Stuart was spotted in the England camp ahead of Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against the Wallabies, a move Cheika described as ‘weird’.


“Obviously they would be mates I imagine, so it’s all good,” Australia’s head coach said earlier this week.

“It’d be like… I’m friends with Gareth Southgate. I met him and was a lovely chap, I really like his style. He’s a good man, but I don’t know if I’d be wanting him in here the week that we’re playing England.”


Cheika said he trusts teenager Jordan Petaia “infinitely” after selecting him for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against England.

The 19-year-old is Australia’s youngest Test centre since Jason Little 30 years ago.

He also becomes the first player born this century to feature in a Rugby World Cup knockout game.

“We didn’t sit back and earmark this game for him to come and play at 13,” Wallabies head coach Cheika said.

“We just watched the games and made the assessments of each player as they went along, and there were things that we liked.

“And what we’ve seen from Jordan, both on the field in games and also at training, we felt that this would be a game that would suit him.

“The guy has been in around the squad for a while now, even though he’s young. He is more than ready to do this.


Jordan Petaia dots down during his Wallabies debut against Uruguay at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. (Photo by Dan Mullan / Getty Images)

“I trust him infinitely, and that’s why he has been chosen.

“I wouldn’t be looking at the age of players at either end of the spectrum. This is going to sound silly, but you just go and play footy you know.

“Yes, it’s going to be fast and aggressive and all that type of stuff, and I know that lad will rise up to that challenge. I’ve seen it in him, so I know he will on Saturday.”

Petaia moves from wing to midfield, with Reece Hodge returning after serving a three-match suspension.

Hodge was banned following his citing for a high tackle on Fiji’s Peceli Yato in the Wallabies’ opening World Cup fixture last month.

Other changes see half-backs Christian Lealiifano and Will Genia both start, plus skipper Michael Hooper, who wins his 99th cap, and prop Allan Alaalatoa.

Full-back Kurtley Beale, meanwhile, starts after completing graduated return-to-play protocols.

– PA

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