Los Pumas boss Cheika desperate to keep focus amid two jobs
NEWS: Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is determined not to lose focus as a potential clash looms between his two national coaching roles across both codes of rugby.
Cheika was appointed as head coach of Lebanon for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup and agreed to honour his commitment following its 12-month delay despite in the meantime being promoted to a similar role with Argentina.
If the Cedars get through their group, they would most likely play Australia in the first quarter-final at Huddersfield on Friday, November 6, two days before the Pumas take on Eddie Jones’ England at Twickenham in the November internationals.
“At this stage, all those things are prioritised by games, so whichever game is first goes first,” Cheika said at the World Cup launch in Manchester.
“I’ll be honest, I haven’t even looked at dates because one thing I’ve learned about World Cups is that you should not look forward, you should only look right in front of you.
“If you start thinking about what’s down the road, you’ll get caught out.”
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Cheika, who guided the Wallabies to the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup final but quit after a disappointing campaign in 2019, will have the assistance of former London Broncos coach Tony Rea in the run-up to Sunday’s opening game against New Zealand in Warrington.
Former Warrington centre Matt King is Cheika’s right-hand man while former Sydney Roosters hooker Robbie Farah, who captained Lebanon in the 2017 World Cup, is also on the backroom staff.
Another former Sydney Roosters favourite, Jake Friend, is also on board and Cheika says Rea will link up with the squad this week.
“We’ve a really good base of knowledge from some coaches that have been involved at the top end of the game,” said Cheika, who plans to field his strongest team against the Kiwis.