Rugby-Cheika holds his fire but stocks his armoury for England tour

By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY, May 26 (Reuters) - If Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is intending to engage in a war of words with his England counterpart Eddie Jones ahead of the June series, he appears intent on keeping his powder dry until he can see the white of the tourists' shirts. Cheika named a 39-man training squad for the three tests against England on Thursday and was happy to talk about his selections, including former captain James Horwill and 10 uncapped players. Offered the chance to respond to his former clubmate Jones's observation that it would be a "failure" if the Six Nations champions did not win the series, however, and Cheika was not biting. "He's very happy with the team he's got and by saying that he obviously thinks that he'll come down here and win 3-0," Cheika told reporters in Sydney. "That's his way of motivating his troops, you know what I mean, and that's good. They've been together a little bit longer, I guess, they played the Six Nations together and they're on more of a roll. "We're just starting to reconnect again when we get together in the Sunshine Coast and start preparing for that first match and just thinking about that kickoff. That's it." That first match is in Brisbane on June 11 with tests in Melbourne and Sydney following over the next two weekends. Asked about Jones's suggestion that England would bring something akin to the infamous "bodyline" Ashes cricket series of the 1930s because of their physicality and aggression and again Cheika was not biting. He did, however, hint that he would be preparing his players to fight fire with fire. "Ah mate, I'm not a big statement maker, you know that, I'm pretty quiet most of the time," the 49-year-old, a former number eight renowned for being free with his fists, added to laughs. "I've heard a lot of those comments and I think that's awesome because the contact is the part of the game I love. "I want my team to love it, the physicality of the game and the aggression. I think that's to be expected. I want to see that we're ready to go beyond the hard work and the physicality that we've done before because that shows we're improving." There were further hints in his squad selection that Cheika expects a physical series with the inclusion of towering uncapped locks Rory Arnold and Adam Coleman and some almost as hulking backs in Samu Kerevi and Taqele Naiyaravoro. "I think a few big guys in rugby helps," Cheika deadpanned. "But sometimes big is not always just in height it's in heart and I know, especially some of our littler blokes, you wouldn't know they are 50 centimetres shorter than their opponents when that time comes and they need to show up." There was another hint when he was asked about the return of Horwell. Cheika spoke of his admiration for the way the lock had reacted to his omission from last year's World Cup squad - "he took it like a man" - and how his experience of playing for Harlequins in England could be invaluable. "It's got a bit fiery in there at times and I've seen him in the middle of it, which I like," he said. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)