Jones clash ex­cites Wal­laby boss Cheika

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

TWICKENHAM: Wal­laby coach Michael Cheika said he would put his long­stand­ing friend­ship with Ed­die Jones on hold when the new Eng­land boss ar­rives in Aus­tralia for a three-Test se­ries in June. The pair, who first knew each other as for­wards with Sydney club side Rand­wick, now find them­selves in charge of two of rugby’s elite tier one na­tions.

Fri­day saw the 55-year-old Jones given the task of re­viv­ing Eng­land’s for­tunes, af­ter the 2015 hosts’ first-round exit at the World Cup, when he was in­stalled as coach in suc­ces­sion to Stu­art Lan­caster on a four-year con­tract. Jones, Aus­tralia’s coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup fi­nal to Eng­land in Sydney, now has the task of putting his own stamp on the Red Rose bri­gade ahead of their Six Na­tions opener away to Scot­land at Mur­ray­field on Fe­bru­ary 6.

But the end of the Euro­pean sea­son is also set to see Jones lead Eng­land in Aus­tralia, with the reign­ing southern hemi­sphere Rugby Cham­pi­onship ti­tle-hold­ers un­der­lin­ing their cre­den­tials in a gal­lant 34-17 World Cup fi­nal de­feat by New Zealand at Twickenham last month. “Good luck to Ed­die. I want him to do well as a mate...but not when Eng­land come over!,” Cheika said Satur­day.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to the op­por­tu­nity when we go up against each other. Just for the fact that I’m really proud that we’re both from Aus­tralia and come from the same club, Rand­wick, and will be do­ing bat­tle in a dif­fer­ent arena. “It’s go­ing to be a bit weird but there’s no such thing as friends when the game’s on.”

Cheika, back at Twickenham in the tem­po­rary role of coach­ing the Bar­bar­ians in a 49-31 de­feat by Ar­gentina, added: “Ed­die has some very im­por­tant en­coun­ters in the Six Na­tions be­fore then but I’m sure there will be a bit of ban­ter when Eng­land are due to come over to our place. “That’s all good fun be­cause both of us enjoy that kind of thing. That’s part of our re­la­tion­ship I sup­pose.

“I played with Ed­die and I’m not much younger than him,” said the 48-year-old Cheika, Rand­wick’s No 8 when Jones was the Gal­lop­ing Greens’ hooker. Cheika may have en­joyed World Cup semi-fi­nal suc­cess over Ar­gentina, but the Pu­mas turned the ta­bles on Satur­day as they scored seven tries to his Bar­bar­ians team’s five in a non-cap in­ter­na­tional that helped cel­e­brate the in­vi­ta­tional side’s 125th an­niver­sary.

Lomu trib­ute

It was an emo­tional day which saw a minute’s si­lence for the vic­tims of the Paris at­tacks of Novem­ber 13 as well as in mem­ory of New Zealand great Jonah Lomu, a for­mer Bar­bar­ian, whose sud­den death at the age of 40 on Wed­nes­day stunned the world of rugby.

The Pu­mas showed their re­spect by wear­ing black jer­seys with the No 11 on dur­ing the warm-up in recog­ni­tion of the shirt worn by the late All Blacks left wing.

Bar­bar­ians left wing Nemani Nadolo went a step fur­ther, with the gi­ant Fi­jian, who at 6ft 4in and nearly 20 stone has a physique to ri­val that of Lomu, wear­ing a white No 11 on the back of his shirt rather than hav­ing his num­ber printed in tra­di­tional Baa Baas black.

Nadolo also scored a try rem­i­nis­cent of Lomu when he charged past op­po­nents on his way to the line. But the match be­longed to Ar­gentina, who car­ried on from where they left off at the World Cup with an at­tack­ing game that is set to be a part of next year’s edi­tion of Su­per Rugby as well with the cre­ation of a new fran­chise in Buenos Aires.

“It won’t be long be­fore they are top of the Su­per Rugby tree,” said Cheika. “They (Ar­gentina) have a new gen­er­a­tion of fine play­ers and have come a long way since join­ing the Rugby Cham­pi­onship.” Pu­mas coach Daniel Hour­cade, smil­ing again af­ter Ar­gentina’s 29-15 World Cup loss to Aus­tralia left him in tears, said: “I am proud of my team and their at­ti­tude. They took this game very se­ri­ously and it was a fine per­for­mance.” —AFP

EX­ETER: Ex­eter Chief’s lock from Eng­land Ge­off Par­ling (R) is chal­lenged by Bordeaux-Be­gles flanker from New Zealand Hugh Chalmers in the li­ne­out dur­ing the Euro­pean Rugby Cham­pi­ons Cup rugby union match be­tween Ex­eter Chiefs and Bordeaux Be­gles at Sandy Park in Ex­eter, south west Eng­land, on Satur­day. — AFP

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