The lead up to the much anticipated test between England and Australia has been all about the coaches this week as the two Aussies try to get under the other one skins.


This comes back from the June Test Series in Australia which England and Eddie Jones beaten the Aussie hands down in their own back yard. Knowing Cheika, this did not sit well with him, his team and the Australians which makes this weekends clash so much more than just a test.

Cheika suggested Jones, the Wallabies’ coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England, was “tarnishing” his legacy in his native Australia because of the “vitriol” he’d displayed during England’s 3-0 series win ‘Down Under’ in June.

Jones, however, again insisted Thursday that England had been shown a lack of respect in Australia by a television commercial from host broadcaster Fox Sports that mocked their chances of winning and a bizarre question containing a crude sexual reference from former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles, now a Fox pundit, at a post-match news conference.

“Michael Cheika has had a lot to say this week. I’m disappointed he’s upset,” said Jones.

“He’s made some comments about legacy, well we don’t have anything to do with legacy. It’s an uncontrollable part of what happens so we’re not perturbed about that.

“We’ll have a cold beer after the game so he’s welcome to join us. I don’t control his emotions.

“We believe that when we went on the Australian tour, (England) staff and players behaved in a very respectful manner.

“But I’ll reinforce again, I found the Australian media very disrespectful so don’t hide away from those comments.”

Cheika, speaking later on Thursday following Australia’s training session at the elite Harrow School in north London, did not seem that keen to take up Jones’ invitation.

“I don’t know, we’ll wait to see if the referee tells us what time it’s on,” said Cheika.

“Then we’ll decide whether we’re going to go,” added Cheika, whom All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said in June had been “bullied” in the media by Jones during England’s series win in Australia.

“I don’t think there’s anything I can do to influence the referee, so we’re better off just maybe staying quiet and letting them have the meeting themselves.

“I don’t know, I’ll see how I go tomorrow.”

Cheika insisted he was happy to leave all refereeing questions to Peyper.

“I’m not telling him what to do. He’ll interpret it how he wants.

“My responsibility is to get my blokes scrummaging right, and square, and doing their best to keep the thing up on its feet.”

Cheika repeated his claim that Jones had attacked Australia’s scrum as a way of diverting attention from England’s set-piece problems.

“I think he’s done that to take the heat off his own scrum: it’s pretty logical, it’s the oldest trick in the book,” said Cheika.

“At the end of the day what goes on on the field is what’s going to count.

“But that’s why I’d say he (Jones) has done it.”

The Aussies recalled Lopeti Timani to the number eight jersey for their fixture against England on Saturday. Timani has been catapulted back into the starting line-up, shifting David Pocock to blindside flanker, returning to their back-row combination that faced Wales and Scotland.

Kane Douglas starts in the second-row for the fifth time this season, teaming up with Rob Simmons, while Rory Arnold has been left out of the 23.

Allan Alaalatoa has been ruled out of the clash, with Tom Robertson named on the bench as reserve tighthead.

“He’ll (Lopeti) will give us a lot of punch and strength in attack and defence,” said Cheika.

“That extra weight he’s got, his ball carrying and strong defence. It’s going to be a very physical game and he’s fresh now after a couple of weeks off and ready to go. I think we’ll need that extra grunt in there for this game.

“They have a pretty good guy backing up who is new of the scene in (Nathan) Hughes. He’s a pretty sizeable chap himself and a pretty good ball carrier. It’s not in response to what the other team does, it’s what I think we need to win this game.”

Nick Phipps will take over the starting half-back role with Will Genia refused a release from Stade Français, returning the Wallabies to the halves combination they used in June.

Phipps and flyhalf Bernard Foley were heavily, and relatively successfully, targeted back in June but Cheika said it was up to the forward pack to ensure that didn’t happen again.

“I think he’ll be fine,” he said.

“He played well in the Welsh game I thought he’s always done a good job for us.

“Our forwards are very clear that that can’t happen.We need a platform and if Nick Phipps is targeted it’s because of the forwards and not Nick Phipps.

“They go hand in hand and I’m going to be pointing the finger at him for that.”

For England Fiji-born back-row Nathan Hughes is set to make his first England start after being named in the XV to face Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

Hughes, capped twice off the bench in last month’s wins over South Africa and Fiji, replaces Billy Vunipola after the No 8 suffered a severe knee injury during England’s 27-14 victory over Argentina last week.

“Nathan is a strong runner and will provide go-forward,” said England coach Eddie Jones after naming his side on Thursday. “I like one winger with pace, which is Jonny May, and one with work rate, so Marland will work hard for us.”

He added: “The great thing about our team is that no-one is irreplaceable.

“We’ve had seven influential players missing throughout the autumn but we’ve been able to fill that gap and that’s the sort of team we are developing.”

England will be bidding for a national record-equalling 14th straight victory – a mark set by Clive Woodward’s World Cup winners in 2002-03 – and 13th in a row under Australian boss Jones against the Wallabies.

Their current winning streak includes a 3-0 series victory in Australia in June.

Jones, however, said: “Australia have improved significantly since we last played them. The enduring feature of Australian rugby is their cleverness. They look like they are doing one thing and they do the other.

“They have got some quite clever two-phase variation plays and we are going to need to be on our guard. They played very deep and a long way from the gain line against us in June, now they are really flattening up.

“They’ve really got their attack together and it’s clear (assistant coach) Stephen Larkham is doing a good job with them.

“We want to make the game into a physical contest but we also need to be flexible and adaptable like we were against Argentina and if do that we’ll put ourselves in a good position.”

Jones took over as Red Rose coach following the hosts first-round exit at last year’s World Cup – with England beaten in the pool phase by Australia.

The tournament also saw Jones guide Japan to a shock win over South Africa.

Since taking the England job, the 2019 World Cup in Japan has been in Jones’s sights.

“We’ve played three Test matches on the trot which is important because it replicates a World Cup pool,” Jones said Thursday.

“We’ve won three from three so it’s a great dress rehearsal for the World Cup. We need to win this game to progress to the next stage.

“You can’t just win three games to go through, Japan showed that, so we’ve got to get in that practice of winning four games on the trot against quality opposition.”

Jones, Australia’s coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England, urged his current side to keep their composure at the weekend.

“If you look back historically at big Test matches between England and Australia at Twickenham the last 20 minutes has always been a time where either team can win the game and the team that is the most composed, makes good decisions and physically pushes themselves is the team that is going to win the game.”

Australia, whose 27-24 loss to Ireland in Dublin last week ended their hopes of a Grand Slam, were due to name their side later on Thursday.

Prediction: Who cares really, just going to love the English and Aussies giving it too each other for 80 min and one coach will be bitching after it all that is for sure.



15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Lopeti Timani, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 David Pocock, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes16 Tolu Latu, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Henry Speight


15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Henry Slade

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  1. @cab: Lucky? Convincing I would say at 37-21! Cheika’s “grand slam” boast came back to bight him as many predicted.

  2. Lucky… haha did you watch the game?

    They absorbed huge pressure in the first half… maintained… and then stepped up doing ‘the basics’ exceptionally well throughout the second turning the screws… defence, set piece dominance, excellent exit/tactical kicking… and the rest is history. This Wallabies like against IRE would put 50 points on the Boks.

    I said this at the beginning of the season after the historic 3 test series win… we are witnessing the best ENG ide in the history of the game… more rounded player for player than the 2003 champion outfit…

  3. Now only the second side in history to go unbeaten in a year. Well on track to equaling/beating the NZ consecutive win record… only IRE realistically stand in their way…

  4. England were getting beaten all ends up in 1st half, 2 lucky break aways put them back in running otherwise they were toast.

    This is a v ordinary England side coached by a v good coach.

    Oz are v crap apart from sio hooper and pocock and the no 14.
    Any talk of a grand law was compete nonsense from get go.

    Only one who was vaguely on the money was me who said boks would get beaten every game on tour. I was only wrong about baabaas who were beaten them until last minute heroics from lions centres. I should be betting on this stuff. Would’ve made a fortune by now.

  5. You could see it right from Ireland series – totally clueless. Now he want another year as a do over. This fool coach of ours going to flush the bokbok right down the toilet.

  6. Goosen should be playing at 10. We need a decent no 9 from somewhere. Faf’s service not sharp enough. We got fantastic centres. plenty talent in forwards. Psdt and ysterbet best lock pairing ter wereld. Jean luc Picard can play at blinsider or 8. Not sure about whitely as startinh 8. Boks also need an energetic openside who plays to the ball. That pocock is bloody outstanding.

  7. @cab:

    Haha as per norm we watched different games it seems only the international scribes watched the same game as I… nobody not even NZ walks into Australia no matter their form and pumps them 3-0!

    Haha as per the ‘on the money’ calls… I predicted 4/5 from 12 after the Bok’s second pathetic game…

    IRB rankings are spot-on (other than Argies)…

  8. This English side is going to make history… player-for-player they are the best I have ever seen… only Johnson and Johnny would make the side… and this wasn’t even their best 23…

  9. Yessus Bryce this is one seriously kak England and Oz side. The kiwis will slaughter them and they also on a bit of a downer relatively speaking. I think pommie bubble about to get popped big time. I suspect Ireland will beat England fairly convincingly

  10. @Craven:

    Indeed… both have improved since the 6N when Eng dispatched of them in a fairly straight-forward manner… one look at the way they came back against a rampaging Australia… and with many players missing… suggests the result will be the same… hopefully just as frenetic as some of the NH vs SH (Boks excluded) games this year.

    The only team currently in world rugby right now that could beat ENG is NZ and by the time they meet ENG could have already broken the world record…

  11. @Craven:

    Boom there’s someone else for the Boks… and he could bring his attack coach Jason O’Halloran… in two games Huw Jones has looked more deadly against some of the world’s best than he ever did at the Stormers…

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