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Australia coach Michael Cheika laughs off Eddie Jones' scrum concerns

Published 26/11/2016

Michael Cheika's Australia take on England next weekend
Michael Cheika's Australia take on England next weekend

Michael Cheika has called Eddie Jones' bluff over questioning referee Jaco Peyper's officiating of the scrum ahead of England's clash with Australia.

England boss Jones has demanded a meeting with referee Peyper in advance of next Saturday's Twickenham showdown, hinting at what he considers illegal tactics from Australia.

But Wallabies coach Cheika laughed off Jones' public stance on Peyper, insisting his side's scrummaging struggles in their 27-24 defeat to Ireland in Dublin leave England in the box seat on the set-piece front.

Cheika was visibly angered by the 13 penalties Australia conceded at the Aviva Stadium - but insisted he would keep frustrations over referee Jerome Garces' performance for a meeting next week with officials manager Alain Rolland.

"Our scrum got penalised everywhere tonight, so they (England) should be pushing us around no drama," said Cheika, of Jones' comments on Peyper.

Jones admitted he was "very keen" to talk to Peyper about Australia's scrummaging, ahead of the two sides meeting in London.

While Cheika attempted to bat away Jones' early salvo, the Wallabies boss admitted he will seek discussions with Rolland over Garces' officiating in Dublin on Saturday.

"We have to do that stuff with the refs mate, they've told us we can't talk about it in public - we'd love to, but we've been told not to," said Cheika, of Australia's frustrations in Garces' performance.

"We don't want to get ourselves in trouble. That's something I'll be dealing with Alain Rolland afterwards.

"I'll go through the proper channels, and see if we can get something.

"It's all about consistency; (David) Pocock was taken out about 10 metres behind the maul.

"That's something we would have been penalised for against New Zealand a few weeks ago.

"Ireland played well, the second half I was very pleased with our performance.

"But you can't come for just one half. We did that against Scotland and got away with it, but we didn't here."

While attempting to stop himself talking about his problems with his overall refereeing concerns, Cheika wound up admitting he feels Australia are getting nowhere by raising their issues with Rolland.

Asked if he feels Australia have traction with Rolland, Cheika said: "Not really. We've had a few meetings with Alain Rolland and we've tried to do it that way.

"But we'll try to do it that way and see what happens.

"There's no problem for me with the referee per se, the issues for us are the decisions in the game.

"It's not about human relationships, it's about the consistency of what we're doing. It's not about this guy or that guy.

"Everyone saw it out there and felt it, but we've got to do it through the official channels."

Ireland for their part remained nonplussed by Australia's concerns. Captain Rory Best handled referee Garces with a mixture of respect and a firm hand.

The Ulster hooker complained of "constant chirping" from Australia number eight Pocock, who himself had told Garces he was receiving off-the-ball treatment from Ireland he considered "not very sportsmanlike".

All Ireland boss Joe Schmidt would offer, however, was a straightforward appraisal of the referee.

"I think Jerome kept quite a strong hand on keeping both teams disciplined," said Schmidt.

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