Former Wallabies and Pumas coach Cheika named Leicester boss

Thu, Jun 27, 2024, 8:46 AM
AFP
by AFP
Michael Cheika, who guided Australia to the 2015 Rugby World Cup final and Argentina to the 2023 semi-finals, has been appointed coach of English Premiership side Leicester. Photo: Getty Images
Michael Cheika, who guided Australia to the 2015 Rugby World Cup final and Argentina to the 2023 semi-finals, has been appointed coach of English Premiership side Leicester. Photo: Getty Images

Michael Cheika, who guided Australia to the 2015 Rugby World Cup final and Argentina to the 2023 semi-finals, has been appointed coach of English Premiership side Leicester, the club announced Thursday.

The charismatic straight-talking 57-year-old Australian replaces compatriot Dan McKellar at the helm of the two-time European champions.

Tickets to the Wallabies 2024 Home Tests are available to purchase here.

McKellar left after just one season in charge, Leicester finished a lowly eighth in the Premiership and were knocked out of the Champions Cup by Leinster in the round of the Last 16.

Cheika enjoyed success with Irish province Leinster, who won the 2009 European Cup beating Leicester in the final.

He backed that up by winning the 2014 Super Rugby crown with New South Wales Waratahs.

"Honestly, I wasn't looking at the Premiership and didn't have the desire to coach in it until Leicester Tigers came to me," Cheika told the club website. 

"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. If I can bring my best level, other people will bring their best level and good things will start to happen around us."

Cheika said he would need time to get to know the players and channel their strengths into moulding a successful team. 

"Everybody can see that it is a top-quality roster the club has," he said.

"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.

"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."

Andrea Pinchen, Leicester CEO, said 2015 World Coach of the Year Cheika possessed the qualities to revive the club.

"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," said Pinchen.

"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.

"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, whose colourful career has also seen him take charge of Lebanon at the Rugby League World Cup in 2022, will hold his first pre-season training session with the squad on July 1.

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