Alan Jones names partial Barbarians squad

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    The fake war has started between coaches Michael Cheika and Alan Jones ahead of the Wallabies’ match against the Barbarians in Sydney.

    Jones named an incomplete squad at Friday’s squad announcement for the October 28 clash, bemoaning how Cheika snatched a few of his players at late notice.

    Jones’ 24-man squad included eight players from axed Super Rugby franchise Western Force, headed by captain Matt Hodgson.

    There are seven capped Wallabies in the mix to face Cheika’s charges, with the most notable being Barbarians captain Quade Cooper.

    Jones coached the national side during a golden era that featured the 1984 grand slam. More recently, he has been among the most-ardent critics of the Australian Rugby Union during the Force bungle.

    The talkback presenter engaged in a different kind of slanging match on Friday, putting his tongue in cheek while attempting to halt the sport’s slide into obscurity in Australia.

    “This fake war between Cheika and Jones, if it creates some interest, it’s a good thing,” he told reporters.

    “We’ve had great difficulties. Every day we pick a side, we then have to cross many of them out (because Cheika wants them in the Wallabies’ set-up).

    “There’s several players playing for him who want to play for us. That’s likely to affect their performance, don’t you think?”

    Cheika quipped in response that “possession is nine tenths of the law”.

    “They’re playing on our contracts – we’ll keep as many as we can,” he said.

    Jones confirmed the one-off appearance would be the extent of his coaching comeback, regardless of the result.

    “I’m a candidate if Cheika keeps failing like this,” he joked.

    Jones later reiterated his support for Cheika, declaring he was the man to help the Wallabies return to the top of world rugby.

    “This Australian team is infinitely better than they’re given credit for,” he said.

    “Everyone who knows rugby knows that I’ve supported Michael Cheika long before he became Wallabies coach.

    “In difficult circumstances he has done a very good job.

    “I’m disturbed with the extent people have written off the game. We’ve had problems administratively and it’s not fair they get shovelled onto the players.”

    BARBARIANS
    Anaru Rangi, Andrew Ready, Augustine Pulu, Chance Peni, Eto Nabuli, George Moala, Isi Naisarani, Jacques Potgieter, Kane Koteka, Luke Jones, Matt Hodgson, Matt Phillip, Michael Ruru, Pek Cowan, Quade Cooper, Richard Arnold, Sam Carter, Sam Greene, Sam Ward, Taniela Tupou, Taqele Naiyaravaro, Theo Strang, Tim Nanai-Williams, Tom Banks.

    © AAP 2017