Michael Cheika says he won’t fire back at England coach Eddie Jones because he wants the Wallabies to be “bulletproof” against external criticism.
Jones has continued his mischievous ways in the lead-up to Saturday’s crucial second Test at AAMI Park, gleefully heaping pressure on the Australians at every opportunity and maintaining that England are the subject of a co-ordinated “dirty tricks” campaign.
In the wake of the first Test, the English press rushed to anoint Jones as the winner of the pre-series mind games after Cheika’s refusal to indulge his former Randwick clubmate.
But Cheika says he’s been quiet for a reason.
“I know a lot of people have said we’ve been quiet and all that stuff, but talk about sledging for example. I’ll sledge if I’m going to go on the field and be able to back it up,” Cheika told reporters on Wednesday evening.
“(I don’t) go sledging and stay off the field and say, ‘Oh sweet boys, go to it’.
“I think that’s only short-term motivation always … we want to build some substance to be a consistent team for the long haul. Not just get by this week and hope for the next thing.
“That’s what we’re about and I want to be bulletproof to all that stuff, and build from within, and not have to use that thing to stick on the wall to help us.”
Meanwhile, Cheika says the Wallabies need to cope better with what he described as England’s “niggling” tactics.
“That’s not physicality, that’s something else. Niggle’s the stuff you do off the ball so you’re protected,” he said.
“If someone pulls you down, you can’t whack a bloke because you know you’re going to get caught.
“So, I’m not doing niggle. That’s not our go.
“We’ve just got to improve the level we showed last week because obviously last week’s level was not enough. That’s pretty clear by the scoreline.