Cheika joins Los Pumas in 'spicy' Rugby Champs return
SPOTLIGHT: In a spicy Rugby Championship subplot, Michael Cheika will try to bring about the downfall of his Wallabies successor Dave Rennie as part of Argentina’s coaching staff when they arrive for the November tournament.
Rennie will coach Australia for the first time in next month’s two-Test tour of New Zealand after Cheika stepped away following last year’s World Cup quarter-final exit.
He has since worked as a consultant with the NRL’s Sydney Roosters but will join former Australian assistant-turned Los Pumas head coach Mario Ledesma.
Ledesma said he had proposed the plan earlier this year and was met with immediate interest, the former Wallabies coach since helping with logistics and tactical advice ahead of their visit.
“We agreed from the first moment … he always liked Argentine rugby a lot,” Ledesma said.
“It is an excellent opportunity to continue learning all because he is a person who thinks a lot about things outside the box, who has an innovative and super creative vision, different from that of many coaches that I’ve come across.”
*Article continues below…
Argentina are set to face Australia in the third and fourth round of the tournament in Sydney and Newcastle.
Wallabies veteran prop Scott Sio said he had no issue with Cheika siding with the Los Pumas despite saying he’d he would never coach against Australia.
Cheika’s split with Rugby Australia was ugly but Sio said there was no bad blood between the coach and players.
“I’m excited for him,” Sio said on Friday.
“Obviously I spent a lot of time at the Wallabies under his tutelage so I’m excited to see what he can do for Argentina rugby.
“It will be interesting to see what they can do together with that team and I’m sure we’ll have a physical battle.”