Michael Cheika: I can't understand why Eddie Jones is getting grief
‘I’m not sure what people are looking for. Perfection? That’s never happening’
Michael Cheika’s Australia team face England on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Michael Cheika has urged the English RFU to extend Eddie Jones’ contract in reward for his achievements during his three years at England coach.
The Australia boss believes Jones deserves acclaim for delivering a Grand Slam, Six Nations title and world record-equalling run of 17 successive Tests victories amid an overall win ratio of almost 80 per cent.
Jones’ contract expires in 2021, subject to a break clause dependent on performances at Japan 2019, and Cheika insists the terms should be improved after he steered England out of the mire in the wake of a dismal World Cup showing on these shores.
“Call me thick but I can’t understand why he’s been getting grief,” said Cheika ahead of Saturday’s Cook Cup showdown.
“How many games has he won here with England? What about the job he did after the World Cup? Maybe they’re giving him grief because he’s an Aussie.
“The team’s ranked fourth in the world, playing lots of good footy, so I’m not sure what people are looking for. Perfection? That’s never happening. You win some games, you lose some games.
“He’s definitely won more games than he’s lost so I’d be wrapping him up and signing him up for another four years.”
Australia have been lifted by the presence of Michael Pocock in their back row for the final Quilter International at Twickenham, although Cheika insists doubt still exists over his fitness.
The game’s foremost breakdown specialist has been struggling with a neck problem, but Jones on Monday accused the Wallabies of smoke and mirrors over the extent of his injury.
“Michael’s had a neck issue all season from getting hits on the head and neck,” Cheika said.
“There’s always a bit of the unknown there because you feel good one day and then the next day you don’t feel as good.
“This time it’s lagged after last weekend’s Italy game for quite a while, so I just want to give him as much time as possible to feel really good.
“I wouldn’t say he is fully fit, he is hurting. He’s desperate to play. He has put his head into places where others don’t like to go all year and he has copped a few whacks. I wouldn’t take a risk physically with him.”