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VIDEO: Michael Cheika swathed in Los Pumas' brotherhood

SPOTLIGHT: Los Pumas coach Michael Cheika has been called the busiest man in rugby, but for now he is revelling in the tight-knit brotherhood of the Argentinians.


After being named as Los Pumas head coach back in March last year, Cheika’s diary is filled to the brim with rugby commitments.

The former Wallabies coach is also the Director of Rugby for Japanese Top League side the NEC Green Rockets and the Lebanese Rugby League side.

Last year he achieved one of the biggest Test victories in Argentina’s long rugby history when they beat England 30-29 at Twickenham following wins over the Wallabies and All Blacks.

It capped an amazing return to the spotlight for the 2015 World Rugby Coach of the Year who, just days earlier, had guided Lebanon to the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup in Huddersfield.

The son of Lebanese immigrants, he made his reputation as a tough back-rower with the Randwick club in Australia who once tried to play the week after suffering a head gash that required 38 stitches.

Turning to coaching after his playing days ended, Cheika led Randwick to the Sydney first-grade premiership in 2004. The next season he made the big leap to Irish club Leinster and guided them to the Heineken Cup, Europe’s top competition.


In 2014, he became the first coach to win the major rugby titles of both northern and southern hemispheres when his Waratahs won the Super Rugby final 33-32 over New Zealand’s Crusaders.

At the moment however he is firmly entrenched in Argentina’s preparations for the World Cup following a sterling performance against the world champions at Ellis Park over the weekend.

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“The way I would approach the World Cup, like with any knock-out competition pretty much, it’s the game that is in front of you next,” Cheika told media at the post-match press conference on Saturday.

“And even with that said, we get to go back to Buenos Aires next week, and we can play against the world champions before we leave to go to the World Cup.

“It’s an opportunity to build some momentum for ourselves to continue and improve and that will help us. We are also keen to predict what is going to happen, but that’s the punters’ job.

“I can’t think like that. I can’t think about predicting what’s going to happen.

“I just think about what’s going to happen next and how can we be best prepared to compete and win in whatever is coming next.

Cheika says he relies heavily on the character of the players, something the Los Pumas has buckets of.

“That is one thing that this team has in spades. We have a lot of that.

“These fellows are good people, very good people. They are good friends, they are good friends to me and to all the staff. They’ve got a very tight-knit brotherhood.

“And there are a lot of young guys starting to come through now who are building that new part, adding onto the guys who probably have more experience.

“It’s changing the dynamic in a really positive way. I think that character is something that I am trying to help them build more belief in, and what they can achieve if they believe in themselves a little bit more.

“It’s a great team to be a part of, I love everyday.”

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