It’s win or bust for Michael Cheika, who has reaffirmed he will walk from the Wallabies top job if they don’t win this year’s World Cup.
In Johannesburg to prepare for Saturday’s Rugby Championship opener against South Africa, Cheika said he was prepared to “put himself on the line”.
He said nothing had changed since he made the statement early last year that after finishing runner-up at the 2015 showpiece, the team needed to show improvement in Japan which meant only a win would keep him in the position.
Currently ranked world number six, and with bookies offering odds of $21.00, it’s a big call.
“I’ve been transparent since day one – I believe that I should put myself on the line and winning the World Cupis the dream for all of us,” Cheika said.
“I know most people would think that’s a pipe but we don’t.
‘We came second last time and if we come first next time I will have earned the right to stay on as coach and if I don’t then someone else earns the opportunity.
“I think that’s fair.”
Rugby Australia director of coaching Scott Johnson said this week they were putting out the feelers should Cheika walk or his contract wasn’t renewed after the tournament, which starts in September.
“We’re doing our due diligence. It’s not like we’re sitting back and doing nothing,” Johnson said.
Taking over as head coach in October 2014, Cheika’s coaching record is 28 wins, 28 losses and two draws from his 58 tests for a win rate of 48 percent.
The poor record hasn’t dulled his passion for the team and players and said the build-up to the Springboks test had been the most enjoyable of his reign.
“Since coaching with Australia I don’t think I’ve enjoyed four weeks more – the two weeks in Sydney and Brisbane and two weeks here.
“Just the atmosphere around the team and the camaraderie has been unreal and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Watch – Rassie Erasmus’ big Springbok gamble:
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