If the three-Test rugby series between the Wallabies and England is to be a battle of the coaches, it’s Eddie Jones who has struck the first blow.
When Australian five-eighth Bernard Foley broke through England’s line 29 minutes into the first Test at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, the home team looked set for victory.
But instead of being 17-6 ahead, Cheika was literally left scratching his head when Foley’s effort was ruled out by the video referee for obstruction.
Wily Jones pounced, immediately withdrawing centre Luther Burrell for George Ford in a tactical switch that turned the match.
Within minutes, a penalty and then a Jonathan Joseph try for the visitors had swung the game decisively in England’s favour.
Joseph’s try was a victory for Jones’ military style of coaching, maximising an opportunity handed to them as Cheika’s instinctive Wallabies came unstuck.
Israel Folau’s long pass about 30 metres out from Australia’s tryline was spilt by Foley and then debutant Samu Kerevi couldn’t regain possession, allowing the English centre to gather the ball and score.
England dominated before and after halftime on the back of their tactical switch before the Wallabies came back hard.
Again though a loose carry by the Australians in the final minute provided England with the opportunity to seal the match through Jack Nowell.
Throughout the build-up to the Test Jones continually referred to Cheika as the best coach in the world.
It now seems the Australian mentor will have to live up to that tag if he’s to turn this series around next weekend in Melbourne.