England coach Eddie Jones has fired a barb at Michael Cheika before boarding his flight to Australia, accusing the Wallabies coach of playing mind games ahead of the three-Test series.
Jones and the English squad land in Brisbane early on Thursday morning, ahead of the series opener at Suncorp Stadium on June 11.
The chirpy Jones has had been trying to antagonise the Wallabies for weeks – but Cheika, his former teammate at Sydney club Randwick, isn’t biting, this week declaring he would leave his players to throw his “grenades” for him.
Ex-Wallabies coach Jones said catching up with Cheika – who is in camp on the Sunshine Coast with a bulging 39-man squad that will be trimmed to 30 late on Friday – for a beer at some point during the series wasn’t on his agenda.
“At the moment, Cheik’s got smoke and mirrors everywhere,” Jones told The Australian.
“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.”
Former Wallaby mentor Jones is expecting a “hostile” reception upon his return his homeland, but warned there were weaknesses in the Australian side England aim to expose.
“There’s definitely weaknesses in the Australian team, like any team,” he said.
“There’s weaknesses in the All Black 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.”
England, outsiders to claim a first-ever series win on Australian soil, will begin training at the team’s base at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast over the weekend.