Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he should have resigned from his role nine months before their 2019 World Cup campaign.
Cheika’s relationship with Rugby Australia grew increasingly fractured as the Wallabies endured a tough 2018 season where they won just four of their 13 Test matches – their worst season since 1958.
This prompted Rugby Australia to appoint Scott Johnson as their director of rugby following their regular season review. A three-person selection committee – consisting of Cheika, Johnson and Michael O’Connor – was also installed.
During 2019, Cheika’s tense relationship with Rugby Australia became more and more evident, particularly during the World Cup when he had a public spat with former chief executive Raelene Castle at Australia’s Tokyo embassy.
Cheika vacated his role after the Wallabies’ quarter-final exit to England at the 2019 World Cup. He was replaced by Dave Rennie.
However, in an interview with The Sunday Times, Cheika said he should have left earlier as he felt ‘compromised’ after Johnson was brought on board.
‘In a footy team, there can only be one boss, that’s all there is to it,’ Cheika told The Times. ‘I should have left because that shows they didn’t trust me anymore.
‘But I loved Australian rugby and thought I could do it. I believed I could get the players together and I didn’t want to let the players and supporters down. I compromised myself in that way, that’s a lot easier to assess. I tried to manage it the best way I could without being out of order.
‘If you cause turbulence at that point, everyone feels it and I didn’t need everyone to feel the turbulence in the team. You have to deal with it internally. Apart from the one day when we left Japan, I never spoke about it publicly.’
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