Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has his sights set on Europe as he enters the final seven months of his World Cup preparations.
Cheika is set to travel north to scout potential World Cup opponents during the opening weekend of the Six Nations between France and Wales in Paris on Friday, and then Ireland and England in Dublin on Saturday.
However, despite being in close range of Scotland’s director of rugby and soon-to-be boss Scott Johnson, the pair are understood to not be meeting during Cheika’s stay in the northern hemisphere, according to Fairfax.
That means he will be present at Murrayfield in Edinburgh this weekend when Scotland meet Italy, but will continue to keep his distance from Europe-bound Cheika, despite the pair having already spoken over the phone since the announcement of Johnson’s signing in December.
Johnson is set to have his work cut out for him upon his arrival in Australia, with only six months between then and kick-off for the World Cup in September.
In that time, he has to help turn around the Wallabies’ lacklustre results they have yielded under Cheika’s guidance over the past couple of seasons, which has seen them register a win rate of just under 41 per cent since the 2015 World Cup.
Rugby Australia have branched out to try and aide Cheika’s and Johnson’s bid for a commendable World Cup campaign by attempting to lure the services of 139-test halfback George Gregan as a third selector.
It is believed, however, that the 45-year-old is unable to commit to the role due to his growing business interest, which includes a fitness line and catering and hospitality group.
Rugby World Cup city guide – Oita:
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