Oz pun­dit wants Kiwi to coach Wal­la­bies

Herald on Sunday - - SPORT -

Aus­tralian rugby pun­dit Greg Grow­den has sug­gested it could be up to a Kiwi to turn around the for­tunes of the Wal­la­bies.

Aussie coach Michael Cheika is re­port­edly set to face the Rugby Aus­tralia board to­mor­row, and Grow­den ex­pects staffing changes.

Speak­ing to New­stalk ZB’s Mar­tin De­vlin, Grow­den said there’s a strong chance Cheika is no longer at the helm for the Wal­la­bies come to­mor­row af­ter­noon.

“I think there’s go­ing to be ca­su­al­ties, and a lot of peo­ple are hop­ing it’s go­ing to be Cheika,” he said. “He’s in a bit of strife, and I think no mat­ter what, there will be some changes. If he doesn’t go, I think you’ll see some of the as­sis­tant coaches or some of the man­age­ment team go.”

Al­though the meeting is to­mor­row, Grow­den said he wouldn’t ex­pect to hear any­thing from Rugby Aus­tralia about any pos­si­ble changes until later in the week.

It has been a tough pe­riod for the Aus­tralian na­tional team since Cheika took over in late 2014.

In 58 matches, they’ve stag­gered to 28 wins and as many losses, with two draws along the way.

In that pe­riod, they lost to Wales for the first time in 14 tests, and suf­fered mul­ti­ple de­feats against Ar­gentina and Scot­land.

Grow­den sug­gested that should Cheika be sacked, the op­por­tu­nity could be per­fect for New Zealand coaches look­ing to make the step up to in­ter­na­tional level, while Aus­tralian Scott John­son, Scot­land’s direc­tor of rugby, was an­other can­di­date.

“Why not look at Dave Ren­nie or Scott Robert­son or an­other New Zealand coach?

“There is a bit of an­i­mos­ity to­wards New Zealand coaches here af­ter the Rob­bie Deans ex­per­i­ment, but Scott John­son could do it with a cou­ple of peo­ple here, could get Brad Thorn in­volved.

“There are op­tions and there are quite a num­ber of ca­pa­ble Aus­tralian coaches coach­ing over­seas at the mo­ment.

“There are some Aus­tralian coaches, but surely there are some New Zealand coaches who would want the chal­lenge of coach­ing the Wal­la­bies. It’s not a bad job be­cause they can’t get much worse.”

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