Rugby: Michael Cheika reveals hurt at not winning major Wallabies trophy
SYDNEY (AFP) – Michael Cheika admits he was “hurt” by not being able to secure a major trophy while Wallabies coach, and suggested tumultuous times in domestic rugby did not help.
The 53-year-old quit in October after Australia’s humiliating World Cup quarter-final exit against England, drawing the curtain on a five-year reign that started strongly but ended in criticism.
Former Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie, a New Zealander, replaced him.
Since his departure, Cheika has been working as consultant with rugby league side Sydney Roosters but he said he wished more had been achieved with the Wallabies.
“Am I satisfied in the end? No, because I wanted to win a Bledisloe (Cup) and win the World Cup and I wasn’t able to do that,” he told Fox Sports.
“That hurts me personally because I really value the supporter on the street and I know that’s what they want. I see it in my own family.
“The kids are watching the game, all dressed in their jerseys and then the next morning, if you lose, they’re unhappy.”
Cheika’s tenure was marked by a successful 2015 World Cup campaign in which Australia reached the final, losing to the All Blacks. It earned him the world coach of the year accolade.
But the final 18 months of his tenure were less successful and he admits he barely had a relationship with the Rugby Australia hierarchy.
“I’ve always been an outsider in rugby, outside the establishment,” he said.
“Considering the circumstances we had going on in Australian rugby in the last five years, we always represented with maximum courage,” he added.
“The Wallabies are a result of our preparations in Super Rugby and they’ve been difficult because we’ve had a lot going on.”
Super Rugby has undergone almost constant tinkering in the past decade, including the controversial axing of Australian franchise Western Force in 2017.
Cheika also had to deal with players opting for lucrative contracts overseas, depriving the Wallabies of their talent, and the divisive sacking last year of Super Rugby’s record try-scorer Israel Folau.
Despite this, he said he still felt pride about his time as Australian coach.
“I’m proud of being part of some of the great wins. A lot of them played above their potential.”
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