Home Rugby Michael Cheika relishing newest teaching duel with Eddie Jones

Michael Cheika relishing newest teaching duel with Eddie Jones

Michael Cheika relishing newest teaching duel with Eddie Jones


Michael Cheika is aware of one swallow doesn’t make a summer season as he tries to plot one other uncommon teaching win over long-time buddy and foe Eddie Jones.

In a twist few might have imagined just a few months in the past, the previous Randwick teammates will renew their rivalry in Sydney on Saturday when Cheika’s Argentina aspect face Jones’ Wallabies within the Rugby Championship.

Either side are looking for their first victory of 2023 after copping hidings from New Zealand and South Africa respectively final weekend.

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But, as ever, the narrative before the Commbank Stadium clash, is as much about the coaching duel between two of the best in the business who both readily admit hating to lose.

Much to his displeasure, Cheika lost seven times to Jones’ England team before finally masterminding a Pumas victory over them at Twickenham last year, before Jones was sacked and then appointed to replace Dave Rennie as Wallabies coach in January.

Cheika on Thursday, though, was careful not to claim bragging rights or poke the bear who has previously revelled in getting under his fiery counterpart’s skin with well-timed barbs.

“I wouldn’t say on the overall ledger that that’s the case. I’m still hungry for a few more, don’t worry,” he said after making four changes to his Pumas team that started in Sunday’s 41-12 loss to the All Blacks in Mendoza.

“Eddie’s a quality coach and I think that’s why Australia wanted to have him back because he can add a lot to the team here, and I’m sure he will.

“They’re just in construction like where we’re starting our season too so he’s a high-quality coach and you always want to go up against high-quality coaches just to test yourself.”

While the build-up to their latest coaching showdown has lacked the usual edge, Cheika is making no secret of his desire to notch another win over Jones.

The biggest thing with Eddie is he’s a competitor and he wants to win and I’m pretty much the same,” he said.

“We come from the same place really, just down at Coogee here.

“So that’s the one thing you know you’re going to get all the time. Styles can change and of course players have got to act that out on the field as well.

“But I thought it was a good call that Australia brought him back and I’m sure it will be. As long as it’s not when we’re playing against them.”

Cheika doesn’t agree with the theory that he’s under less pressure now coaching the Pumas than when he was while in charge of Australia.

“Pressure, there’s two types,” he said.

“There’s the pressure that’s applied from the outside and then there’s the pressure that you apply on yourself, and I’ve always applied maximum pressure on myself because that’s what I want to do.

“I want to test myself in the most difficult situations and see how I can help myself and the team come out on top. I want to be in that environment. I’m not worried about that environment.

“And that hardens you so that when you come to the external pressure, you’ve asked yourself all the questions that anyone wants to ask you anyway, if you’re being genuine with yourself.

“It’s more about ego. I want to win with Argentina as much as I’ve wanted to win with any other team I’ve coached.”



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