Cheika hits back at Ella jibe

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 08:18
Large michael cheika observes 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wallaby coach Michael Cheika has hit back at comments from Glen Ella that he was still having "nightmares" over England's 3-0 series win by indicating the former Australia international was not a man for tough times.

Ella became England's temporary backs guru for their whitewash tour of Australia after being appointed to the job by Red Rose boss Eddie Jones - a childhood friend of both Glen and his brother Mark Ella, one of the Wallabies' greatest flyhalves.

Saturday sees Jones and Cheika in opposition again when England face Australia at Twickenham.

Cheika - a former teammate of both Ella, who no longer has an England role, and Jones at Sydney club Randwick - was asked about the "nightmare" comment.

"It's funny you know everyone's up the front of the bus when they've had a win, a guy like Glen in particular. He's always up the front of the bus for a handout when he's had a win. But when it's tough and you've got to run uphill, you haven't seen that bloke or haven't seen a few of those blokes around.

"I don't think he's working with England anymore, any Aussie that would be supporting England against Australia, especially a guy that has played for the Wallabies, there's got to be a reason why. I don't know if he's bitter.

"Maybe they want to get us kicked out and have a job there I'm not sure. He's got to have a reason," Cheika said.

England have won all 12 Tests since Jones took charge after the hosts' early exit at last year's World Cup.

By contrast Australia, who went all the way to the World Cup Final before succumbing to New Zealand, head into Saturday's match having won six and lost eight out of 14 Tests in 2016, following last week's defeat by Ireland in Dublin.

"I'm upset about losing at the time of course but for the year as a whole? Mate, I think we've improved and we're going well," he added.

This week has seen Jones, the Wallabies' coach when they were beaten by England in the 2003 World Cup Final in Sydney, repeat claims that both he and his current side were treated with a lack of respect in Australia earlier this year.

But according to Cheika, it's a ruse born out of Jones' need to have a chip on his shoulder even when things are going well.

"He's a good Australian coach who took Australia in a World Cup that we didn't expect to go fantastic in, to the final. He's respected for that by me as a former teammate of his and as a player. I think you saw when he was in Australia that he got a lot of respect.

"I think that whole thing is a play on. He's always operated with a chip on his shoulder and now that there's not a chip because he's going really well, he's got to keep looking for it," Cheika stated.

But Jones played down his role in England's revival.

"All the credit should go to the players. They've had the talent, all I've done is taught them how to play as a team, I haven't taught them about rugby," Jones said.

Agence France-Presse