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'It’s now about how the team gels': Cheika to coach Bok playmaker

NEWS: The next chapter in Michael Cheika’s career has been confirmed.

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Leicester Tigers have appointed the Australian as the club’s new head coach ahead of the 2024/25 season.

He joins Tigers after a two-year stint as head coach of Los Pumas, who he led to fourth place at the 2023 World Cup.

A European Cup and Celtic League winner with Leinster and Super Rugby winner with the Waratahs, Cheika has also coached at three World Cups – Argentina in 2023 and reaching the Final with Australia in 2015 and quarterfinals in 2019 – as well as one Rugby League World Cup with Lebanon.

One of the stars that Cheika will be in charge of at Leceister is Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard.

“Honestly, I wasn’t looking at the Premiership and didn’t have the desire to coach in it until Leicester Tigers came to me,” said Cheika.

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“But, the opportunity to coach at Tigers and lead this group of players turned my head.

“I want this to be my best coaching yet. I want the preparation and the way we lead the team, to be at my best level. If I can bring my best level, other people will bring their best level and good things will start to happen around us.

“Everybody can see that it is a top-quality roster the club has. I am not going to lie and say I know every single one of them down to their bones but that’s what I will do over the next few months, to learn how to get the best out of them.

“But, the roster is only paper.

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“It’s now about how the team gels, how to put these really good players and characters together and get them playing in a way that they love it and a way they love going out there, together, and representing Leicester Tigers.”

On the appointment of Cheika, Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen said: “We are very pleased to be able to appoint someone of Michael’s experience and history with success to the role of head coach.

“He has, over more than two decades, achieved great success in winning trophies but also developing players, developing coaches and galvanising groups to be the best they can be.

“We want that, we need that and believe Michael is the right person to take this team, this club back to where we know we should be.

“I also accept that the past week is not what fans expected, and nor did we, but the decisions we have made are for the long-term benefit of Leicester Tigers and after lengthy, detailed and very honest conversations with Michael in recent days, we are on the same page about what is now necessary to see this club back on top.”

Cheika’s appointment is effective immediately and the new head coach will be present for day one of the 24/25 pre-season programme on Monday, July 1.

In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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