Eddie Jones has dismissed Michael Cheika’s accusation that England will try to “bully” Australia by committing late tackles on their half-backs in Saturday’s autumn international at Twickenham, live on Sky Sports.
Australia coach Cheika suggested that England would deliberately target Will Genia and Bernard Foley, the Wallabies scrum-half and fly-half respectively, with late tackles in order to disrupt them.
Cheika also said that there was plenty of footage from England’s 3-0 series win in Australia last year that proved his theory.
When asked about Cheika’s comments on “bullying”, Jones gave them short shrift. He said: “I think it’s a funny term to use.
“Australia vs England games are a good physical contest. We’ve had four great referees in the previous games, and we’re going to keep on playing hard but fair.
“There’s a referee there to look at late tackles, and that hasn’t been the case, so Michael’s obviously looked at a different video to everybody else.”
England vs Australia
Jones confirmed that he would be meeting the referee – New Zealander Ben O’Keeffe – before the Test, and that he had confidence in his ability to ignore the pre-match comments.
He said: “I’ve coached over 100 Tests and every Test I’ve met the referee. That’s a normal part of it.
“We want to show him respect because we want to tell him what we want to do in the game and he wants to tell us what he wants to do in the game.
“He’s a bright guy. I don’t think he’s going to allow comments in the press to affect how he’s going to referee. He’s a professional, very good, young referee. I’m sure he’s going to do a great job.”
Despite the war of words between the pair – who are both Australian – Jones said that he and Cheika had a healthy but competitive relationship.
He said: “It’s good. He wants to win, I want to win. We’re both desperate to do well for the teams we’re coaching.
“That’s the great thing about international rugby – there’s a passion and desire to give your best and both of us will be doing that tomorrow.”