Cheika irked by Hansen's 'shallow' bullied claims


Australia head coach Michael Cheika has hit back at suggestions he has been bullied by England counterpart Eddie Jones in the media, labelling New Zealand boss Steve Hansen's comments on the topic "shallow".

England earned a historic Test series win in Australia following victories in Brisbane and Melbourne, leaving the Wallabies with nothing but pride to play for in Saturday's final contest.

All Blacks coach Hansen, whose team beat Australia in last year's Rugby World Cup final, claimed Cheika's failure to respond to the outspoken Jones through the media filtered onto the pitch.

Hansen said: "Cheika's not come back, he's letting Eddie have a free rein - to the point where it actually seems like he's letting Eddie bully him in the media.

"I don't know if that's because they know each other that well, or if there's a pecking order from the old days. That's gone on to the park, hasn't it?"

However, the Wallabies boss refuted such suggestions, claiming his New Zealand counterpart is guilty of a superficial view.

"I'd be pretty nonplussed about that," said Cheika when asked about the comments. "That's a really shallow sort of view I suppose on what's really involved in coaching and he knows better than that.

"It's easy to kick blokes when they are down, so we are down, but we'll be getting back up, don't worry about that.

"I think that's a place where sometimes a lot of people like to see us, especially in rugby.

"Australia is down, we've been down before and we've got back up and we will be doing the same again right now."

Cheika added he would have been happy to engage Jones in a battle of words had he thought it would have benefitted Australia.

"If I thought it would have made us play better, I would have got into it," he said.

"It's nice to circle around that idea and go 'yeah that makes a difference' but anyone who knows the game will understand it has no bearing whatsoever on the end results.

"I probably haven't been the most popular character all my life, so I wasn't used to people liking me anyway.

"If they are not big on the way I've taken on the media campaign then that's their problem. I've done what I think is best for the team and I still believe it's the best for the team."