Castle backs Cheika through to 2019 Rugby World Cup

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle has thrown her support behind Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, declaring his job safe until next year's World Cup despite "disappointing" Bledisloe Cup performances.

Cheika's Wallabies tenure has been put under the microscope in the wake of two Bledisloe thumpings in as many weeks.

In the lead-up to last week's Auckland Test, some media reports suggested losses against South Africa and Argentina in the next two Rugby Championship Tests would be enough to put his job into question.

Castle did not validate those claims despite admitting the 38-13 and 40-12 losses to New Zealand were "disappointing".

"(They were) disappointing performances, no doubt," Castle said.

"And everyone recognises that - that's not how we want the Wallaby jersey to be perceived at all.Michael Cheika has the support of Rugby Australia. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"He is contracted through to the World Cup and he has a plan - we are across that plan and we are comfortable with it.

"But clearly you can't just ignore the performances - they're not acceptable.

"So it's about what we can do to support him as an organisation to make sure he has what he needs to make sure the Wallabies are successful as we move into that World Cup."

Castle said the Rugby Australia board was behind Cheika and eager to help him wherever possible rather than looking for an alternative coaching solution.

"Certainly from our perspective, my support and the board's support is behind Michael Cheika as we move into the World Cup," she said.

"We're also talking to him about where the opportunities are and what support he needs around him in his environment to make sure we see that growth.

"We now go into two Test matches against South Africa and Argentina and that's a really good opportunity for us to see the Wallabies in a winning environment."


When pushed on what support Cheika requires, Castle pointed to the Wallabies' defence.

The Australians leaked 78 points through two Tests against the All Blacks, making defence coach Nathan Grey a target of public criticism.

"There are parts of our game that haven't performed - particularly around defence," Castle said.

"So we will be having conversations around that.

"But I don't think it's about changing what we've got.

"It's about what else can we bring.

"We've got a wide rugby community that have significance on the world stage so we are looking at who we can use that are proud Australians and who can help the Wallabies to make sure they continue to be successful."

The Wallabies take on the Springboks in Brisbane on Saturday September 8, kicking off at 8pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.