Wal­laby boss Cheika tells Eng­land to ‘build from within’

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Aus­tralia coach Michael Cheika sug­gested Eng­land ought to be think­ing long-term as well as con­cen­trat­ing on re­cruit­ing a new boss af­ter in­sist­ing he had no in­ter­est in the role as he al­ready had his “dream” job.

Cheika con­firmed Mon­day he had no in­ten­tion of quit­ting his cur­rent post in or­der to suc­ceed Stu­art Lan­caster, who last week paid the price for Eng­land be­com­ing the first host na­tion to bow out of a World Cup dur­ing the group stage — where they lost to both Wales and the Wal­la­bies in the so-called ‘pool of death’.

Barely a year af­ter tak­ing charge, Cheika led his na­tive Aus­tralia to a World Cup fi­nal where they were beaten by New Zealand, with the Wal­la­bies hav­ing pre­vi­ously cap­tured this year’s southern hemi­sphere Rugby Cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

Rugby Foot­ball Union chief ex­ec­u­tive Ian Ritchie’s stated aim of hav­ing a coach of “proven in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence” to suc­ceed Lan­caster would ap­pear to rule out sev­eral do­mes­tic con­tenders.

Mean­while Cheika is the lat­est in a grow­ing list of over­seas can­di­dates, along with com­pa­triot Ed­die Jones and the New Zealand trio of Wayne Smith, War­ren Gat­land and Joe Schmidt, to say he doesn’t want the Eng­land job, with only for­mer South Africa World Cup-win­ning boss Jake White pub­licly an­nounc­ing his in­ter­est thus far. Cheika said there was more to coach­ing a Test side than im­me­di­ate suc­cess. “As the head coach, your role is to do well now but it’s also to plant the seeds that some­one else is go­ing to ben­e­fit from fur­ther down the track,” he ex­plained.

“I know that sounds like utopia but I be­lieve that when you work that way, plan that way, you’ll get ben­e­fits in the short term as well. “I’m no one to be giv­ing any­one ad­vice. I’m no­body. I just think you’ve got to build some­thing from within,” Cheika added, be­fore cit­ing the likes of Gat­land (Wales) and Schmidt (Ire­land) as ex­am­ples of over­seas coaches who had en­joyed suc­cess in Test rugby.

“That’s what we want to try to do in Aus­tralia: breed the next crop of coaches, whether it’s the boys who are coach­ing with me now, Stephen Larkham and Nathan Grey, or those guys who are go­ing to come through next.”

Ritchie has promised the RFU, Eng­land’s gov­ern­ing body and the wealth­i­est of all the ma­jor unions, will spare no ex­pense in their search for a new coach. Asked if that would help, Cheika jok­ingly replied: “Well, it will help the bloke you throw money at.

“No, it’s about get­ting the right per­son that fits that team and those peo­ple.”


Re­flect­ing on the World Cup, Cheika added he had en­dured mixed emo­tions on his re­turn to Aus­tralia. “It was hard for us be­cause we were still car­ry­ing the scars of los­ing the fi­nal. We had two ob­jec­tives on our trip over here-to get peo­ple in Aus­tralia en­joy­ing rugby again and not just for that tour­na­ment. “I was really hum­bled by the re­ac­tion of a lot of peo­ple back there, which we’re not used to be­cause it’s not the most pop­u­lar sport in Aus­tralia. “So we’re not used to peo­ple com­ing up to us in the street and say­ing, ‘Con­grat­u­la­tions’.

‘You feel a bit guilty tak­ing that, be­cause we didn’t win. It’s a bit para­dox­i­cal but what do you do? I really liked the fact that peo­ple really en­joyed it back at home. That was really re­ward­ing for us.”

Cheika is briefly back in Lon­don to coach the Bar­bar­ians for their match on Tues­day with Glouces­ter and Satur­day’s non-cap in­ter­na­tional against Ar­gentina at Twickenham, with the fix­tures forming part of the in­vi­ta­tional side’s 125th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

He said a key at­trac­tion was work­ing with the likes of New Zealand’s World Cup­win­ning wing Nehe Mil­ner Skud­der and Spring­bok lock Lodewyk de Jager, not against them. “It is still such a great con­cept, to be in­volved with guys who are your en­e­mies really,” said Cheika. “In re­turn we have to go out and play really good rugby to make sure that the next group of guys who come to play for the Bar­bar­ians are really revved cos this group of guys played really well.” — AFP

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