Huge boost for Wallabies as Michael Cheika commits through 2019 World Cup
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika on Thursday agreed a two-year contract extension that will take him through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in a major boost for Australian rugby.
Cheika is one of the highest profile names in the sport after guiding Australia to the 2015 World Cup final and being named World Rugby coach of the year.
His contract was due to expire next year and he has opted for an early extension, which Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver said he was thrilled about.
“We could not be more delighted to have secured Michael’s services as national coach until at least the end of the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019,” said Pulver.
“Obviously his record as Wallabies coach over the past 18 months speaks for itself, but it’s the wonderful culture and a renewed pride in the gold jersey that Michael has instilled in the team which has laid the foundation for continued success.”
Cheika boasted an impressive club coaching record before taking the Australia job, having won the European Champions Cup with Irish province Leinster and the southern hemisphere Super Rugby title with the New South Wales Waratahs.
He said his time as national coach had been an honour and it was a privilege to stay in the role until the next World Cup.
“I never imagined I would be in the position of coaching Australia and feel extremely honoured to have the opportunity to continue on for the next period though to the end of the 2019 World Cup in Japan,” he said.
The 49-year-old added that he saw his job as ensuring that every game the Wallabies play “fills the nation with pride”.
“It is a privilege to be associated with the people involved with our national team and playing my part in establishing the Wallabies identity for the years to come and for many years after that,” he said.
Cheika assumed the national coaching job after the shock walkout of Ewen McKenzie in October 2014 following intense speculation over player discontent and his private life.