Eng­land’s scrum is the prob­lem: Cheika

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralia coach Michael Cheika has fired back at Ed­die Jones by in­sist­ing it is Eng­land rather than Aus­tralia who scrum il­le­gally.

Eng­land boss Jones riled his na­tive Aus­tralia by call­ing for a pre-match meet­ing with ref­eree Jaco Peper ahead of Satur­day’s clash at Twick­en­ham to dis­cuss his concerns about the Wal­la­bies’ scrum.

But Cheika said Jones, once his team­mate at Syd­ney club Rand­wick, had to get his own house in or­der af­ter prop Dan Cole was sin-binned for col­laps­ing a scrum dur­ing Eng­land’s 27-14 win at home to Ar­gentina last Satur­day.

“I think the im­por­tant thing there to note is that he’s got to be look­ing at his own play­ers be­cause they’re the ones who have a prop with a yel­low card and that same prop’s been in­fring­ing the law since his ca­reer started, prob­a­bly if not all of this year,” Cheika said Tues­day.

Cheika, in a thinly veiled ref­er­ence to Cole’s play dur­ing Eng­land’s 3-0 se­ries win in Aus­tralia in June, added: “It’s up to the ref whether he gets in­flu­enced by that re­ally af­ter the guy’s been bor­ing in and fall­ing down all of June in the se­ries we played against them.” The Aus­tralia coach stressed his side scrummed cor­rectly.

“We scrum square,” he said. “We’ve got an Ar­gen­tinian scrum coach and all we do is scrum square and try to get as much weight as pos­si­ble.” Cheika added that Aus­tralia props Scott Sio and James Slip­per had been un­done at the scrum by Cole not be­cause of any tech­ni­cal de­fi­cien­cies of their own, but rather as a re­sult of the Eng­land front-row’s il­le­gal tac­tics.

“In the sum­mer that’s what hap­pened to Scotty and James-Cole’s ex­pe­ri­ence in that way and turn­ing in and pulling down just got the bet­ter of them and they weren’t able to deal with it.” It is standard prac­tice be­fore an in­ter­na­tional for coaches to meet with a ref­eree in or­der to get some idea of how a par­tic­u­lar of­fi­cial will in­ter­pret rugby union’s com­plex rule­book.

But Cheika said Jones, whom he had pre­vi­ously ac­cused of be­ing “vit­ri­olic” to­wards Aus­tralia, the team he guided to a 2003 World Cup fi­nal de­feat by Eng­land in Syd­ney, now had a dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude to­wards such en­coun­ters. “It’s funny how your tune changes be­cause in the sum­mer when we asked for those meet­ings he (Jones) was blow­ing up, he stormed out of one,” said Cheika. Rugby Union is unusual in al­low­ing coaches to meet with a ref­eree in the lead-up to a Test match and Cheika ques­tioned whether the prac­tice should con­tinue.

“I don’t think the refs like those meet­ings any­way but they’re the rules so we were only ask­ing,” he said. “There’s no other sport where a coach is meet­ing a ref­eree the day be­fore a game on their own. “We sign a mil­lion in­tegrity forms now at World Rugby and do cour­ses, but I still don’t un­der­stand how the ref­eree meets the coach be­fore the game on his own.”

Eng­land head into Satur­day’s match on a 13-game un­beaten run, hav­ing won all 12 of their in­ter­na­tion­als un­der Jones since the for­mer Ja­pan coach took charge fol­low­ing last year’s World Cup.

Aus­tralia, mean­while, will be look­ing to re­cover from a 27-24 loss to Ire­land in Dublin last Satur­day that ended their hopes of em­u­lat­ing the 1984 Wal­la­bies by com­plet­ing a Grand Slam of wins over the Home Na­tions. — AFP

BAGNOLET: Wrestlers of the “Di­ables Rouges” wrestling club in Bagnolet, at­tend a train­ing ses­sion on Novem­ber 18, 2016 at the sports hall in Bagnolet. The team of the “Di­ables Rouges” wrestling club in Bagnolet are per­form­ing at the Theatre in Au­bervil­liers. — AFP

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