Cheika is safe ... for now
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle has hinted that changes to the Wallabies coaching staff could be made, if results don’t improve during the final stages of the Rugby Championship.
Australia continues their Rugby Championship campaign this weekend with a tough away fixture against South Africa.
Castle told media that she still believes Michael Cheika is the right man to lead the team to the World Cup next year.
“As I’ve said on-record before, he [Cheika] has the support of the board,” she said.
“Yes we’re facing some challenging times but he’s also doing some work with the environment he’s working in to make sure he’s got the best people around him and we’ll see the performances over the next couple of weeks.”
Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Cheika has been encouraged to consider expanding his staff in the form of a technical adviser to help Australia find a return to form.
Former Wallabies halfback George Gregan has been tipped to fill the role, but Castle said that no changes would be made until the end of the current Rugby Championship campaign.
“He [Cheika] would always need to be reviewing that [his coaching staff], as you would whether you were winning or losing, to make sure he’s got the best people as we move into the World Cup next year,” she said.
“I know that when you have some losses the blowtorch comes on those conversations. He’s certainly aware of them and he needs to make sure he’s got the best people around him.”
Castle reiterated that the next two Tests would determine where the board heads in terms of changes.
“The results are important and there’s no doubt that [in] the Rugby Championship we’re looking to climb our way up that ladder,” she said.
“All I can say is that I’ve spent a lot of time talking to Michael Hooper and Cheika, over the last week or so and no one’s more disappointed with the results – and certainly the loss to Argentina – than they are.
“It’s been a good week off for them to re-group and now they have a week together building into South Africa. They’re excited about the opportunity, they’ve beaten South Africa once this year, they’d like to do it again.”