'Good old mate': The heartbreaking bond between Cheika and Jones

England coach Eddie Jones has offered an unexpected olive branch to Wallabies counterpart Michael Cheika, believing the death of a man who mentored them both would forge a bond this weekend.

Jones turned the narrative on its head on Thursday, describing Cheika as a "good old mate" two days out from their Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Oita.

SURPRISE: England throw surprise selection at Wallabies

Since taking charge of England in 2016, Jones hasn't held back engaging in sometimes-cutting verbal jousts with his former Randwick clubmate.

Cheika hasn't been as forthcoming in response, possibly because his team are on a six-Test losing streak against the English under Jones.

Eddie Jones and Michael Cheika will come head-to-head this weekend when Australia take on England. (Getty Images)

Given a chance to have another jab at a packed press conference, former Wallabies coach Jones instead offered praise to a man whose five-year tenure will finish if Australia are beaten.

"They are a great tournament side. I think 'Cheik' has done a really good job," he said.

"I'm proud of the job he does. He's a good old mate of mine."

Jones referenced the pair's long association with Randwick club icon Jeff Sayle, who died last month aged 77.

Sayle was an influential figure in the career of both coaches and they paid emotional public tributes soon after learning of his death.

"There will be a bloke in the sky who will be quite excited about Michael and I coaching against each other this week," Jones said on Thursday.

Jeff Sayle, Michael Whitney and Geoff Lawson in 1991. (Photo by Philip Wayne Lock/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

"I'm sure he's having a few beers next to St Peter now looking at the situation."

Jones also took the chance to play down the invitation to Canberra Raiders NRL coach Ricky Stuart who has joined the England camp as part of their preparations this week.

Cheika said he found it "weird" that Stuart should be involved, sparking a possible flashpoint.

Jones said the timing of the invitation to "old mate" Stuart in the week they're playing Australia was a coincidence.

"It's just an exchange of ideas," Jones said.

"If you look at the history of what we've done over these four years we've invited coaches in all the time because we want to share their knowledge, we want to make sure we keep learning."

However, a mischievous Jones then revealed he had been up until 9pm on Tuesday night "picking Ricky's brain".

Selection surprises

Michael Cheika is set to surprise England fielding teenager Jordan Petaia in the midfield for their World Cup quarter-final but Eddie Jones has also made some surprising changes.

England coach Jones has unveiled an unexpected backline to face Australia, shifting Owen Farrell to five-eighth and demoting George Ford.

Jones was expected to name the same XV who beat Argentina in their final pool match two weeks ago but has instead surprised by making made three personnel changes and a positional switch.

Having gone with the Ford-Farrell double-pivot set-up for most of this year, including two of their three pool games in Japan, Jones has had a change of heart.