Rugby News

Rugby-Cheika to help Argentina during Rugby Championship

Sept 25 (Reuters) - Former Australia coach Michael Cheika will act as a coaching consultant for Argentina during the Rugby Championship in November and December, Pumas coach Mario Ledesma has announced.

Cheika, who quit as Wallabies coach after his team were well beaten by England in the quarter-finals of last year’s World Cup, has been working in a similar capacity for the National Rugby League champion Sydney Roosters this year.

Ledesma, who worked as scrum coach under Cheika at Stade Francais and with the Wallabies before returning home to Argentina in 2017, said he had proposed renewing their partnership at the start of the year.

“He was very excited, he has always liked Argentine rugby a lot,” Ledesma said in a news release.

“This an excellent opportunity to continue learning because he thinks out of the box and has an innovative and super creative vision, very different from most coaches that I have come across.”

Since Australia was named as host nation of the Rugby Championship last week, Ledesma said, Cheika had been helping with logistical issues for the squad ahead of the trip.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry acted as a coaching advisor to the Pumas in 2012-13 after guiding the All Blacks to their second World Cup triumph in 2011.

While Cheika never quite reached those heights -- his Wallabies teams lost the 2015 World Cup final -- he remains the only coach to have won both the European Cup (Leinster in 2009) and Super Rugby (New South Wales Waratahs in 2014). Cheika’s decision to help the Pumas comes as something of a surprise as he had said in May he would feel almost like a “traitor” coaching against one of his former teams.

“You could say, ‘I am going to show (Rugby Australia),’” he told The Times. “But I’m never going to go against them. That’s my country. They are my guys. That’s the jersey my kids wear.”

Argentina start their Rugby Championship campaign against South Africa in Brisbane on Nov. 7.

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford