Ex-Wallabies boss Michael Cheika has made a cross-code coaching switch to join the Sydney Roosters on a short-term coaching advisor’s role.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the 52-year-old is assisting the reigning back-to-back NRL champion club’s head coach Trent Robinson by working with the squad’s coaches and the players’ attacking skills.
“He is helping push myself and the assistant coaches to improve and challenging our ideas and helping push us again in 2020,” Robinson said.
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The move to rugby league comes after Cheika ended his five-year tenure with the Wallabies following a dismal quarter-final exit at the hands of eventual runners-up England at last year’s World Cup in Japan.
He has been linked to a return to France with Top 14 club Montpellier, eight years after he left Stade Francais to join the Waratahs in Super Rugby, but will stay in Sydney for the time being as he works with the Roosters one day a week until at least the end of pre-season.
“I’ve loved it. I was really honoured that they thought I could contribute. I want to make sure the stuff I’m doing is contributing the way Trent wants me to,” Cheika told the Telegraph.
Through their long-time friendship, Robinson and Cheika linked up in 2014 to hold a joint training session between the Roosters and Waratahs.
It isn’t the first time that rugby union and league coaches have switched between the sports to lend their expertise to the opposite code.
England head coach Eddie Jones sought the services of Canberra Raiders boss Ricky Stuart to observe his side’s World Cup training last year, and has recently added former Kangaroos international and Melbourne Storm assistant coach Jason Ryles to his coaching staff.
New Ireland head coach Andy Farrell represented England in both codes, and was a Great Britain rugby league representative alongside former Wales assistant Shaun Edwards, who has now taken up the same post with France.
Additionally, dual international Michael O’Connor served as head coach of Australia’s men’s sevens team between 2008 and 2014, and was last year a selector for the Wallabies alongside Cheika and director of rugby Scott Johnson.
Outspoken broadcaster Alan Jones has coached at high levels in both union and league, taking charge of the Wallabies between 1984 and 1987 before assuming the helm of the Balmain Tigers in the NSWRL four years later.
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