England’s extra prep days will mean little on matchday, says Cheika

KUMAMOTO – England will have had an extra week to freshen up before their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia but the teams’ different preparations will mean little on matchday, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said on Monday.

Australia won their last pool clash against Georgia on Friday but England’s final group match against France was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis, giving Eddie Jones’s side a two-week break after their win over Argentina on Oct. 5.

“Doesn’t really matter,” Cheika told reporters at the team hotel in Odawara. “We have been preparing each day to try and get the best out of ourselves and building.

“Nothing ever goes perfect. We’ve had our little things whether they’re on the field or off the field, obstacles we’ve had to overcome, that’s par for the course. I don’t want to be lucky or have the gods smile on me or anything like that.”

Australia head into the blockbuster quarter-final in Oita on Saturday as clear underdogs having failed to produce a complete performance in wins over Fiji, Georgia and Uruguay, and a loss to Wales.

They have also lost six successive tests to Jones’s team since knocking England out of their own World Cup in 2015.

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Australia were unconvincing in their win over Georgia in their final pool game. Photo: Christophe Ena/AP Photo

Cheika has never beaten former Randwick team mate Jones in their coaching rivalry and became the first Wallabies coach to be whitewashed by England in a test series on home soil in 2016.

“It’s irrelevant, really,” Cheika said of that record. “I’m not trying to avoid it, but why go back and talk about all those games?

“Looking backwards is only going to give you a sore neck.”

Cheika was reluctant to talk about his relationship with Jones. It was fine, he said.

He also had little to say about England’s game.

“Lots of respect (for England) but I’m not a big analyser of the opposition,” he said. “I’m always telling my coaches not to watch the opposition so much. They watch too much footage of the opposition.”

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Australian supporters react following the Rugby World Cup Pool D game at Tokyo Stadium between Australia and Wales in Tokyo last month. Photo: AP Photo/Jae Hong

Cheika, who took Australia to a surprise final at the 2015 tournament, has said he would quit the Wallabies job if he failed to deliver a third World Cup to the nation.

Having run a successful fashion business, he added that coaching was a passion rather than a career.

“I’ve still got to get a real job one day when I grow up,” he joked. “Coaching (is) a series of moments along the way. Some are great, some aren’t.

“I just want to enjoy the moment, live in the now and I couldn’t care less afterwards.”


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