The rest of the letter was a loss but Michael Cheika is riding something of a winner in the race for former Randwick chum Eddie Jones.
Argentina’s 30-29 win over England at Twickenham last year was Cheika’s first victory over Jones and he assisted. until the dismissal of the former in December.
This set the wheels in motion Doubts about Jones returning as Wallabies boss while the well-traveled Cheika is now giving press conferences fluently in Spanish with Los Pumas.
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Jones has previously won seven consecutive goals against Cheika’s Wallabies while coaching England but the latest is this weekend as he enjoys them off the field.
Cheika arrived early and booked his Pumas in Coogee for Test week while Jones and the Wallabies instead slept and trained at Manly Bridge.
“I was really surprised we got the green carpet to come here,” Cheika told Stan Sport’s Justin Harrison at Coogee Oval.
“So I don’t know. But my friend, it’s good to be here. It makes you feel at ease when you’re away.”
While Cheika and Jones have had their share of media talk, the pair had a lot to say when they named their teams on Thursday.
There is a lot of work to do after the big loss to open the Rugby Championship before Saturday’s Sydney.
NEW PODCAST: Special guest Nick Phipps helps the crew digest the Wallabies’ bad loss in Pretoria and plan how to make things right in Sydney against the Pumas.
“I think he is also focused on what he has to do for his team,” Cheika told reporters.
“I haven’t really spoken to him this week, maybe I’ll see him after the game.
“Eddie is a good coach and I think that’s why Australia wanted him back because he can add a lot to the team here, and I believe he will. It’s in the build-up as we start our season. He’s a great coach and you always want to play against great coaches just to test yourself.” alone.”
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Cheika, who enjoyed a coffee on Thursday morning and chatted with Roosters coach Trent Robinson, dismissed the idea that he has bragging rights over Jones.
“I can’t say in the book of overalls that this is what it is,” he said.
“So I’m still hungry for more… the biggest thing with Eddie is the competition and he wants to win, you know, and I’m very similar. So we come from the same place.”
Cheika said he had now “dealt” with the idea of coaching against Australia after feeling “aggressive” at first.
“I think they (Pumas players) make fun of me because it surprises me, just putting the tools on. But now I feel more connected to this group of guys and I feel like I belong,” he said.
“As much as I love being Australian – and I won’t say I love being Australian – I love these guys.”
Jones also allowed himself a trip down memory lane when asked about Cheika.
“I don’t want to be too presumptuous, but it’s interesting, isn’t it, that you think in the international game, you have two coaches coming out of the Sydney tournament and it shows you the true value of club rugby,” Jones said.
“Australian rugby was founded on club rugby and the more we can do to promote strong club rugby, the better.”
INSTRUCTIONS (15-1): Tom Wright, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Len Ikitau, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Fraser McReight, Jed Holloway, Will Skelton, Richie Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Dave Porecki, James Slipper (c)
Storage: Jordan Wales, Angus Bell, Bond, Matt Philip, Rob Leota, Josh Kemeny, Tate McDermott, Carter Gordon
POMA (15-1): Emiliano Boffelli, Rodrigo Isgro, Lucio Cinti, Jeronimo de la Fountain, Matthew Carreras, James Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou, Juan Martin Gonzalez, James Grondona, Pablo Matera, Thomas Lavanini, Matias Germanno, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya (c), Thomas Horse
Storage: Agustin Creevy, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Eduardo Bello, Lucas Paulos, Rodrigo Bruni, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Nicolas Sanchez, Matias Moroni
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