After the curtain fell on Australia’s recent World Cup campaign in Japan, Michael Cheika was as good as his word in stepping away from his job in charge of the Wallabies after failing to build on 2015’s final appearance. 

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His departure on the back of a quarter-final defeat to England opened the door for Dave Rennie’s appointment as his successor and it was widely speculated at the time that Cheika would soon resurface in France as Montpellier’s new director of rugby. 

However, that trail has now apparently gone cold if reports coming out of France are to be believed. 

Instead of the Australian being lined up to succeed Kiwi Vern Cotter, who is stepping away from the director of rugby role in 2020, a surprise French local has now emerged as the front-runner for the post.     

Philippe Saint-Andre hasn’t worked in a dressing room since France’s 2015 World Cup came to a juddering halt with a humiliating defeat by the All Blacks in the quarter-finals in Cardiff. But he is now said to be leading the charge to become Mohed Altrad’s new man.

(Continue reading below…) 

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The Montpellier owner had approached Cheika at the end of October but it appears that these negotiations were nowhere near fruitful. 

In the meantime, France Television, in a story picked up by Midi Olympique, have now placed Saint-Andre at the head of the queue. 

“Free of any contract since the end of the 2015 World Cup, Saint-Andre is indeed part of a short-list of personalities established by Mohed Altrad in order to offer the MHR a new director of rugby,” it reported. 

“And it is even rumoured that the strong man of the club absolutely wants to convince PSA.”

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