That old Randwick rivalry has reignited between Michael Cheika and Eddie Jones, laying the foundation of another spicy lead-up to an Australia-England sudden death showdown at the Rugby World Cup.
Cheika has clearly decided England are in his sights, speaking freely about a team they’ve lost to in six successive meetings, with most of those by wide margins.
Ex-Wallabies coach Jones, who loves pre-match banter as much as his counterpart, had issued a verbal prod to Australia this week.
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After his team’s scheduled match against France was cancelled by World Cup officials because typhoon safety fears, Jones said his team would benefit from a two-week break in comparison to the Wallabies, who were pushed hard by rugged Georgia on Friday.
Cheika said all his former teammate at Sydney club Randwick had actually done was heap additional pressure onto himself.
“Well, I saw he was saying that that (cancellation) would be an advantage and the ‘typhoon gods’ were smiling on him,” Cheika said
“They’ve had the best preparation according to the coach so they’d better go out there and win. We’ll see how we go.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 11, 2019
Cheika dismissed talk England are clear favourites, preferring to ignore the underdog discussion entirely.
“Mate, I don’t know the relevance of it,” he said.
“The only relevance is Saturday. It doesn’t matter, all the different things, who’s had a week off, who’s had a week on, who’se been resting, who hasn’t.”
Cheika was quizzed on whether the clash with the forward-based Georgians on Friday was the ideal preparation for an England side who also base their game around a robust pack.
While the answer was no because the teams are too different, Cheika said the trench warfare nature of the match won 27-8 at a wet and wild Ecopa Stadium in Shizuoka was ideal for his own players.
“The hit out was good, just having to dig in and work hard, get up off the ground, get into some tough stuff,” he said.
“That’s how we wanted the game to go, we wanted to work like that.”
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