Cheika: Jake is 'disingenuous'
The public baiting between Waratahs coach Michael Cheika and Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White took a nasty undertone on Monday.
They have a history of public spats and antagonistic baiting, dating back to White's stint as Brumbies coach in the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
However, the duo have taken their barbs to a new level since the table-topping Sharks' emphatic 32-10 triumph over the ambitious Waratahs in Durban at the weekend.
Cheika threw out the bait last week and White stepped into the trap when he responded after his team's demolition of the Australian franchise.
The Sharks boss thanked Cheika for "making my team talk easier" with his pre-match ranting.
When Cheika's assessment that the match had been close was put to White, he retorted: "Whatever Michael Cheika says, we believe, don't we."
Cheika responded by saying he was surprised to read the comments in the media.
"I didn't read them in detail, but it wouldn't hurt me to be criticised by someone who's disingenuous, so it doesn't hurt me," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"If he felt that way, he could have said it to me when he saw me before the press conference and shook my hand.
"And there's a track record there, isn't there?
"I would almost see it as a compliment to be criticised by someone like that."
White was certainly not holding back at the weekend, recalling the infamous broken door incident from the Brumbies versus Waratahs game three weeks ago.
Cheika shattered the pane of glass in the Canberra Stadium facility at the end of the match – the Tahs' only other defeat this season.
White was asked for his take on the penalty count, which grew to 20-9 against the Waratahs and was questioned by Cheika in his post-match comments.
"I just want to see if our [the Kings Park Stadium] coaches box is still alright, because I have to get [Chief Executive John Smit] to get some insurance for it," White quipped.
"Hopefully it's not too damaged."
White would have had the last laugh though, as Waratahs centre Rob Horne was suspended for a dangerous tackle on Sharks counterpart Francois Steyn – who in turn was issued with only an off-field yellow card for his tackle on Tahs midfielder Kurtley Beale.
With Horne out, Cheika will also be concerned about the fitness of Beale, who suffered whiplash, and Israel Folau – who completed his first run on Monday since picking up a throat knock in the Waratahs' win against the Rebels.
Cheika said he was confident both would be fit to play, but would only make the call on Tuesday.
"We'll see how he pulls up from recovery and a bit of a run [on Monday]," the coach said.
"I wouldn't think he was at doubt at this stage."
The Waratahs this week heads to Newlands where they will take on the Stormers on Saturday.
The men from Cape Town have lost four games on the road in as many weeks.
However, Cheika suggested the team would go back to the basics to plot victory at Newlands on Saturday.
"Our attacking ruck was poor [against the Sharks]," he said.
"The way we play, if that's not done properly it's hard to get a flow on. Even when we carried and got go-forward, often the ball was delivered with a bit of a bobble.
"If we clean that bit up, get a little bit more consistent in that area and the game is a different set-up with a different score. We know we can do it, so it's just a matter of getting back onto it this week."