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Sunday 17 December 2017

Jones says Cheika is trying to sway ref after 'bully' quip

Autumn International: England v Australia Twickenham, Live SS Action (3.0)

England head coach Eddie Jones
England head coach Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones has criticised Australia for seeking to influence referee Ben O’Keeffe through the media.

Jones was responding to claims made by Michael Cheika that England deliberately target the half-backs with late tackles and will attempt to "bully" the Wallabies in today's Cook Cup clash at Twickenham.

Cheika had indicated he would not attend the customary eve-of-match meeting with the referee, but it is understood that he will now talk to O’Keeffe.

"Obviously Australia enjoy the media more than the referee," Jones said after England's captain's run at Twickenham on Friday morning.

"I have coached over 100 Tests and before every Test I have had a meeting with the referee. It's a sign of respect that you want to know what he wants from the game. It's a mutual exchange of information for the benefit of the game. 

"We have played four games against Australia and had good referees in those games. Obviously Cheika feels the referees haven't done a good job so possibly he should be taking that up with the referee and not the media."

In contrast to Cheika's approach, Jones launched a charm offensive on O'Keeffe.

"I met him as a young guy coming through," said Jones. "He's a very good young ref and is only 28 ... he's a very competent, accurate and fit referee. He's an intelligent guy and I'm sure he won't be influenced by comments made in the press."

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