Rugby Australia has backed Wallabies coach Michael Cheika’s plan for next year’s Rugby World Cup. Picture: AAP
Rugby Australia has backed Wallabies coach Michael Cheika’s plan for next year’s Rugby World Cup. Picture: AAP

RA boss backs Cheika World Cup plan

RUGBY Australia boss Raelene Castle has reaffirmed her faith in coach Michael Cheika as the right man to steer the Wallabies to next year's World Cup but has stopped short of saying he's guaranteed to keep his job if the losses keep piling up.

Castle said she spoke with Cheika in the aftermath of last weekend's loss at home to Argentina and was confident he knew what was he was doing even though most rugby followers are scratching their heads trying to work out what's going on.

"He's got a contract through to the end of the World Cup," Castle said.

"He's got a plan that he's been working towards that World Cup.

"Yes, losing to Argentina is not where he wants it to be but we're in constant dialogue with him, we know he's got a plan and we're support that plan."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika (centre) with assistant coaches Stephen Larkham (left) and Nathan Grey. Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle has come out in support of Cheika but hasn’t been as forthcoming about his assistants.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika (centre) with assistant coaches Stephen Larkham (left) and Nathan Grey. Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle has come out in support of Cheika but hasn’t been as forthcoming about his assistants.

Few people share Castle's optimism and there have been mounting calls for Cheika and his staff to be sacked if the Wallabies don't start to improve.

Pressed on whether Cheika's choice of assistant coaches Stephen Larkham and Nathan Grey would remain intact if the Wallabies continued their run of losses, Castle said that could depend on the results from the upcoming Tests in South Africa and Argentina.

"He would always need to be reviewing that, as you would whether you're winning or losing, to make sure he's got the best people as we move into the World Cup next year," she said.

"I know that when we have some losses, the blowtorch comes on those conversations and he's certainly aware of them and he needs to make sure he's got the best people around him."

Castle said she also spoke with skipper Michael Hooper before the Wallabies flew out to South Africa and was reassured from her conversations that things were on track despite the team's woeful record of losing five of their seven Tests this season.

The Wallabies need to win on the road against South Africa and Argentina to try to salvage a horror season. Picture: AAP
The Wallabies need to win on the road against South Africa and Argentina to try to salvage a horror season. Picture: AAP

"The results are important, there's no doubt for the rugby Championship, we're looking to climb our way up the ladder," she said.

"What I can say is that I've spent a lot of time talking to Michael Hooper and Michael Cheika over the last week or so and no-one's more disappointed with the results and certainly the loss to Argentina than they are

"They're excited about the opportunity. They've beaten South Africa once this year and they'd like to make it two.

"It's important that we finish the Rugby Championship and see how we go there and then they're home before they head off to Japan."

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