Michael Cheika blasts Dan Cole ahead of England-Australia as barbs continue
By Stephen Turner
Last Updated: 29/11/16 9:57am
Australia coach Michael Cheika has turned his sights on England prop Dan Cole as the tetchy build-up to Saturday's Test continues.
The increasingly barbed exchanges between Cheika and his opposite number Eddie Jones began in the summer and show no signs of letting up ahead of this weekend's Twickenham reunion.
Aussie Jones has been accused of tarnishing his legacy at home by aiming "vitriol" the Wallabies' way, but the England boss seemed unconcerned by that as he went public with his criticism of the Australian scrum at the weekend.
That has not gone down well with Cheika, who claims Jones should get his own pack in order - starting with Cole, who was sin-binned during England's defeat of Argentina.
"He wants to talk about our scrum because we're cheating in the scrum - an important thing to note is he's got to look at his own players," Cheika, a former team-mate of Jones, said.
"They are the ones who have a prop with a yellow card. That same prop's been infringing the law since his career started probably, if not all of this year.
"If he thinks the refs are that naive that if he has a go at our scrum they'll forget about his guy, that's up to the ref. It's not up to me. Nothing I can say will make a difference about that. It's up to the referee whether he gets influenced by that.
"The guy [Cole] has been boring in and falling down all of June, that's his tactic. If he thinks that me saying something back on that is going to change the referee's mind, that's totally up to the ref."
The referee in question is Jaco Peyper, and Jones has demanded a meeting with the South African ahead of kick-off.
That suits Cheika, who wants to attend and has accused Jones of double standards for "storming out" of a similar meeting during England's 3-0 win in Australia in the summer.
"He's running on our media, he's organising the meetings for the ref and for the Australian team," Cheika said. "It is funny how your tune changes. In the summer when we asked for those meetings, he was blowing up and he stormed out of one."
Cheika's comments about Cole, meanwhile, have been dismissed by England's scrum coach Neil Hatley, who said: "It seems to be a common theme from an Australian watcher.
"Coley's one of the most respected tightheads in the world. He has been outstanding so far. When people have a go at him he just keeps his head down and maintains his form. I think he's a quality scrummager."