Michael Cheika baffled by Ricky Stuart’s ‘weird’ England involvement
Michael Cheika has questioned Eddie Jones’ decision to bring Australian rugby league coach Ricky Stuart into the England camp ahead of Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against the Wallabies.
Stuart, a former dual code international, has joined up with Jones’ squad in Oita after steering the Canberra Raiders into the NRL grand final earlier this month, although his exact role is unclear.
Cheika is a long-term friend of the 52-year-old league great and describes his association with England as “weird”.
“Obviously they would be mates I imagine, so it’s all good,” Australia’s head coach said.
“It’d be like… I’m friends with Gareth Southgate. I met him and was a lovely chap, I really like his style. He’s a good man, but I don’t know if I’d be wanting him in here the week that we’re playing England.
“It must be weird for the players having an Aussie because Ricky is a legend. He’s a dual international and a tough man. Had a great season with the Raiders this year. Unreal.
“I’d say it might be a bit weird for them. He’s going there for learning stuff. I have known him from way back.
“He’s a good guy, nice guy and very passionate about his footy and I love his passion for the game.”
England enter the Oita Stadium showdown with an unblemished record against Australia under Jones of six successive wins dating back to 2016.
“I think the run is irrelevant, really. There are reasons, I’m not trying to avoid it, but why go back and talk about all those games?” Cheika said.
“I talked about those games in those press conferences after those games and then they’re done with and we’re onto the next thing.
“Looking backwards is only going to give you a sore neck. We’ve got opportunities this week and we’ve got to take them.
“I’m just a believer. Call me a sucker. I believe in my lads. I know there’s other people who won’t give us much of a chance but I believe that when you believe in yourself you are much closer to being able to create history.”