Eddie Jones depicted as 'menacing clown' Down Under before England face Australia in grudge match
Given England coach Eddie Jones already considered Australia's media "disrespectful" during last June's test series, he would probably not have enjoyed his depiction as a "malevolent clown" in a national newspaper on Saturday.
Jones has been involved in a ding-dong row with Australia coach Michael Cheika conducted through the media this week as they prepared for Saturday's clash at Twickenham in the final test of the year for both teams.
The half-page image in The Australian newspaper echoed a cartoon portraying Cheika as a clown that appeared in a New Zealand newspaper ahead of the All Blacks test against the Wallabies earlier this year.
The accompanying article, headlined "Introducing the real clown of rugby", described how the row between the two former club mates had dragged out over the year. It read:
"Jones is no bumbling buffoon or jovial jester. He is a menacing clown with a dark side, terrorising poor Cheika as if he were part of the creepy clown craze that has swept the world. A Jones media conference is like a dark carnival where he dissects his victims with the sharpest of tongues."
Dylan Hartley vs Eddie Jones (England)AFP
While Cheika kept his counsel in June, he has gone on the offensive in London this week, suggesting former Wallabies coach Jones was spoiling his legacy in his home country and that England prop Dan Coles was a serial cheat.
On Thursday, he suggested that Jones was not really upset by what he considered to be disrespectful treatment at the hands of the Australian media in June.
"He's a good Australian coach who took Australia, in a World Cup (2003) that we didn't expect to go fantastic in, to the final," he told reporters in London.
"He's respected for that by me as a former team mate of his and as a player. I think you saw when he was in Australia that he got a lot of respect.
Australia's head coach Michael Cheika (L) and Australia's Argentinian assistant coach Mario Ledesma hold notes during a captain's run training session at Twickenham stadium, south west London, on October 30, 2015, on the eve of the 2015 Rugby Union WorldAFP
"He's always operated with a chip on his shoulder and now that there's not a chip because he's going really well, he's got to keep looking for it."
Central to Jones's complaints about his treatment in June were crass questions laced with innuendo directed at him in a post-match news conference by former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles, who was working on a segment for a television show.
England swept Australia 3-0 in the June series and will be going for a 14th successive victory when they take on the Wallabies on Saturday, a winning streak Cheika would no doubt love his players to end.
"Jones has had a lot of fun at Cheika's expense this year, but he who laughs last, laughs loudest," the article concluded.