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Beers on the backburner for Eddie Jones and his 'mate' Cheika

The former team-mates go head-to-head in a three-Test series this month.

Eddie Jones is putting his friendship with Michael Cheika on hold.
Eddie Jones is putting his friendship with Michael Cheika on hold.
Image: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

ENGLAND COACH EDDIE Jones says having a beer with friend and former team-mate Michael Cheika can wait as he turned up the heat Wednesday by talking about weaknesses in the Australian team.

Jones and his squad arrive in Brisbane on Thursday for a three-Test series against the Wallabies, which has been given added spice because of the two opposing coaches.

Jones and Cheika are both Australian and have known each other for years, having played together at leading Sydney club Randwick. Both are also right at the top of their game.

England have yet to lose under Jones — their first overseas coach — after he guided them to a first Grand Slam in 13 years earlier this season, while Cheika is the World Rugby coach of the year after leading the Wallabies to last year’s World Cup final.

But the pleasantries can wait, Jones said.

“I’m sure at some stage we might (go out for a beer) but it’s not on the agenda at the moment,” he told The Australian newspaper.

At the moment, Cheik’s got smoke and mirrors everywhere. I wouldn’t pay any credence to what he’s saying at the moment. The new, mellow Cheik has a lot of deception about him, so let’s just wait and see.”

Jones is bringing a young squad with him — an average age of 24 — and has said it will be a big learning experience, but has also made clear they are in full siege-mentality mode.

“Playing the second-best team in the world in their own backyard is one of the greatest challenges and you know Australia is a hostile place for an overseas team,” he said.

“You know that everyone’s well coordinated in making sure it’s as difficult as possible, which is how it should be… and we’ve got a young team.”

He has picked four uncapped players in his 32-man squad — Worcester centre Ben Te’o, Northampton back-rower Teimana Harrison, Bristol prop Ellis Genge (currently on loan at Leicester) and Harlequins prop Kyle Sinckler.

But he also has plenty of experience, including the likes of Owen Farrell.

And despite playing on opposition territory against a quality Wallaby outfit, which beat England in the World Cup the last time they met, Jones said there were weak links for his team to exploit.

“There’s definitely weaknesses in the Australian team, like any team,” he said. “There’s weaknesses in the All Blacks team. But you’ve got to be good enough to be able to explore them.

The way the Wallabies defend, they give you a very good chance to get at them and that’s something we’ll be looking at very closely.”

The first Test is in Brisbane on 11 June, with the second in Melbourne a week later, followed by Sydney on 25 June.

(C) AFP 2016

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