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Rugby chief fine with Cheika-Jones spat

England coach Eddie Jones and Australia counterpart Michael Cheika can continue their verbal jousting ahead of tomorrow's clash without fear of a Jose Mourinho-style punishment, the chief executive of World Rugby told AFP yesterday.

Jones and Cheika have both publicly questioned the other side's scrum, in what appear to be attempts to influence South African referee Jaco Peyper, who will be in charge at Twickenham .

"I was very interested in their scrummaging over there during the summer (in England's 3-0 series win in Australia in June) and they are welcome to come to the meeting with the referee," said former Wallaby boss Jones immediately after 14-man England's 27-14 victory over Argentina at Twickenham last Saturday.

Cheika, who played alongside Jones at Sydney club Randwick, responded by slamming the scrum technique of England prop Dan Cole, who was sin-binned against the Pumas.

"He (Jones) has got to be looking at his own players," said Cheika.

"They are the ones who have a prop with a yellow card and that same prop's been infringing the law since his career started...

"It's up to the ref whether he gets influenced by that."

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was recently given a £50,000 ($90,000) fine by England's governing Football Association for putting "an additional layer of pressure" on referee Anthony Taylor before last month's goalless draw with Liverpool at Anfield.

Taylor's suitability to take charge of the game was widely questioned in the build-up, mainly on account of the fact he lives in Altrincham, near Manchester.

According to Mourinho, such talk was adding to the pressure on Taylor and making it "hard for him to have a very good performance."

The Portuguese's comments were arguably far less contentious than anything uttered by Cheika or Jones.

But World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper, in a telephone interview with AFP, did not believe his two fellow Australians had overstepped the mark.

Nor did he have plans to stop coaches meeting with a referee prior to a Test - even though Cheika said on Tuesday: "I don't think the refs like those meetings."

Said Gosper: "It's hard to control what coaches say.

"We have enough rules in place that any comments coaches might want to make about officiating, there are channels for them to use." - AFP.

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