Michael Cheika’s switch to the Top 14 and Montpellier could come sooner than expected – RugbyPass understands
In October the former Wallabies coach announced he will not seek reappointment after Australia were knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the World Cup by Eddie Jones’ England.
The 52-year-old left the Wallabies with a bang, burning his bridges with Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle as he went.
Within days the former Randwick No8 was linked with the role of director of rugby at Montpellier where he would oversee head coach Xavier Garbajosa as Scott Johnson did over him in the Wallabies set-up.
It would see him ultimately replace Vern Cotter, whose contract is set to end in June 2020. Cotter was ‘moved upstairs’ from head coach to director of rugby last May.
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One source close to the club has told RugbyPass that not only is the move being spoken about within the club as a done deal, but that Cheika could arrive at the Altrad Stadium as soon as January.
Sparks could fly between the notoriously fiery Cheika and Garbajosa, the 32-cap French international winger who – before Montpellier – had spent four years at La Rochelle.
Cheika himself made no bones about the fact that he didn’t like operating under a DoR at the Wallabies, saying: “Scott’s a lovely bloke and I get on fine with him, but I’m sort of not really into that type of thing.”
“You have to find a way to win no matter what it takes. If you get in trouble, you’ve got a World Cup winners’ medal.”https://t.co/iEM0FTsxse
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 6, 2019
How Cheika goes with the boot on the other foot in the often conflict-orientated Top 14 remains to be seen. The Australian is – however – well versed in the French way of doing things having spent three years in France as an amateur player in the late 1980s and early 1990s and having served time as DoR at Stade Francais from 2010 to 2012 following his Heineken Cup-winning stint at Leinster.
Montpellier owner Mourad Altrad will certainly be interested in the leverage Cheika can bring to the club, namely the ability to entice Wallabies to the Herault.
He successfully lured props Stan Wright and Heinke van der Merwe from Leinster to Stade and his influence with the current crop of Wallabies will no doubt prove a mouth-watering prospect.
WATCH: The RugbyPass documentary with Fijian legend Nemani Nadolo who is playing for Montpellier
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