Eddie Jones proud of 'old mate' Cheika's work with Wallabies

Eddie Jones and Michael Cheika (Getty Images)
Eddie Jones and Michael Cheika (Getty Images)

Beppu - England coach Eddie Jones insisted he was "proud" of Australia boss Michael Cheika as he prepared to face his old team-mate in the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals this weekend.

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Jones and Cheika played in the same pack at Sydney club side Randwick before finding greater fame as coaches than they did as forwards who never won a Test cap for Australia between them.

Both Jones and Cheika were deeply moved by the recent death of their Randwick mentor Jeff Sayle, with the England coach telling reporters on Thursday after naming his side: "We know about Australia, they are a great tournament side.

"I think 'Cheik' has done a really good job.

"I'm proud of the job he does. He's a good old mate of mine and there will be a bloke in the sky (Sayle) who will be quite excited about Michael and I coaching against each other this week.

"I'm sure he's having a few beers next to St Peter now looking at the situation."

At 59, Jones is seven years older than Cheika and was Australia's coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England in Sydney.

And it was thanks to Cheika's Wallabies condemning England to a first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup with a 33-13 win at Twickenham that former Japan coach Jones was appointed to his current job.

England have won all six of their Tests against Australia since Jones took charge, but he insisted he still had respect for the Wallabies.

"They are a clever team. They play good rugby, they've improved their scrum and line-out over the last six to 12 months considerably and that makes them more difficult to beat."

As for that run of victories over Australia, Jones insisted: "The great thing about the World Cup is that each game is a game in itself so whatever you've done in the past doesn't really affect what you are going to do on Saturday.

"We've had a good physical preparation and a good tactical preparation and are ready to go.

"We know Australia are the same so it's going to be some sort of a game."

England head into Saturday's match in Oita having not played for a fortnight after their concluding pool match against France was cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis hitting Tokyo.

"It's a bit like playing poker," said Jones. "You sit at the table and you get some cards and you have to deal with them.

"We got these cards and we've tried to deal with them as well as we could."

Jones, asked if England would need to raise their game to beat the Wallabies, replied: "I don't know how to answer that question because you can only play as well as you need to play to win the game.

"We've had three games, we've had three bonus-point wins, we can't do more than that.

"Do we have to play better than that against Australia? The likelihood is yes and we are prepared for that."



15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 George Ford, 23 Jonathan Joseph


15 Kurtley Beale; 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete; 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Will Genia; 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (capt), 6 David Pocock; 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda; 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt To'omua, 23 James O'Connor

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