Michael Cheika says he’s unlikely to join England coach Eddie Jones at his meeting with referee Jaco Peyper on Friday with the frosty relations between the two former Randwick teammates showing no sign of thawing.
Both men have been vocal in the build-up to Saturday’s Test at Twickenham, with Jones insisting last Saturday there were issues with the legality of the Wallabies scrum.
Cheika returned serve by claiming Jones had tarnished his legacy in Australia by constantly attacking his native country and also questioning the style of England prop Dan Cole.
Asked if he would attend Friday’s meeting with referee Peyper, Cheika said: “I don’t know, we’ll wait to see if the referee tells us what time it’s on.
“I think they may have but I’m not sure as yet what the story is.
“And then we’ll decide whether we’re going to go.
“But I think we’re probably just better off letting them have their own meeting, and see if they can influence the referee that way through having the meeting.
“I don’t think there’s anything I can do to influence the referee, so we’re better off just maybe staying quiet and letting them have the meeting themselves.
“My responsibility is to get my blokes scrummaging right, and square, and doing their best to keep the thing up on its feet.”
Defeat for Cheika would crank up the pressure on the former NSW Waratahs coach who could finish the year with unenviable record of nine defeats from 15 matches.
It comes just a year after he guided the team to the Rugby World Cup final and he’s under no illusions that his position will come under scrutiny should England get the better of his side.
“It will make it seven and eight, instead of six and nine if we win,” he said.
“I know everyone gauges it by results and that’s what we’re held to account for. I’m a big boy and I know what all that means.
“But we’ve had another plan since the start of the year at the end of the World Cup year and yes of course in that plan it’s not to lose games.
“It’s pretty clear that we’ve got a slightly different strategy going that maybe England have at the moment so we’re running our program as best we can and everyone’s putting in as hard as they can.
“I’ve been really pleased with the improvement in the lads since the start of the year to now. Saturday’s another great step up for us, because it will show us how we’ve improved.”