Wallaby coach Cheika excited about facing England under Jones

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika will face his old team mate next year

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says that he will put aside his long-standing friendship with new England coach Eddie Jones when the English rugby side tour Australia for a three-Test series in June.

Cheika and Jones were both forwards at the same time at Sydney club side Randwick and they are now 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!,” says Cheika.

“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 was back at Twickenham in the temporary role of coaching the Barbarians was on the losing side this past weekend as his side were beaten 49-31 by Argentina.

“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.

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