Michael Cheika Appointed Wallabies Head Coach

Michael Cheika has officially been announced as the latest Wallabies coach and will lead Australia at next year’s Rugby World Cup and the rapidly approaching November Spring Tour.

Cheika was officially announced as the replacement for Ewen McKenzie on Wednesday, signing a three-year contract which will also see him continue to coach his current club, the New South Wales Waratahs, in a joint capacity role next season.

Coming off a title with the Waratahs earlier this year, Cheika will be thrown straight into the mix when the Wallabies leave for a five-Test series on Friday, kicking off November 1 against the Barbarians before weekly hit outs against the likes of Wales, France, Ireland and England.  

“I never got to play for the Wallabies so to have the opportunity to coach the Australian team and have that responsibility of that on behalf of the Australian rugby supporters is touching for me,” Cheika said at Wednesday’s press conference.

The Wallabies finished third in this year’s Rugby Championship, boasting just a pair of wins against South Africa and Argentina while dropping three games and drawing another. But Cheika, the Wallabies third coach in 15 months, doesn’t believe he has been called in to save a sinking ship ahead of September 2015’s World Cup.

“I don’t think it’s a rescue job whatsoever … everyone needs to clear their heads a little bit, remember what we’re here to do,” he said.

“There’s a lot of players that still need to rise to their full potential and that’s the job of the coach. When that opportunity calls it’s the one that says [to me] I’m going to come and see if I can help.”

Cheika’s first Wallabies squad for November’s Spring Tour will include five uncapped players, including the Melbourne Rebels Sean McMahon and Western Force prop Tetera Faulkner.

Wallabies Spring Tour Squad: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Alexander, Sam Carter, Quade Cooper, Tom English, Saia Fainga’a, Tetera Faulkner, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Kyle Godwin, James Hanson, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Michael Hooper (capt), Rob Horne, James Horwill, Luke Jones, Sekope Kepu, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Josh Mann-Rea, Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, Nick Phipps, Benn Robinson, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, James Slipper, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White.

Photo: William West


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