Michael Cheika plays down Waratahs job talk

Date published: April 5 2021 - Colin Newboult

Former Wallabies boss Michael Cheika says that the time is not right to return to the Waratahs in a coaching capacity.

Following Rob Penney’s departure as head honcho of the franchise, Cheika, who guided the Tahs to the 2014 Super Rugby title, has been linked with the vacant role.

The NSW Rugby board is believed to be open to the idea of the 54-year-old taking charge, but Cheika insists that it is a job for someone else.

“I think that coaching, it’s not the time for me now to be coaching the Waratahs,” he said while working as a pundit on Stan Sport.

“It’s maybe a little bit too fresh, raw and also from a national point of view, they don’t need me in that space probably at this point.

“They need some clean air, Wallaby coaches, without the name from the last four or five years because it’s been a huge thing for me.”

Advisory role

Cheika has been in contact with Tahs chief executive Paul Doorn, however, advising them on how best the franchise can move forwards.

“I don’t think that my ideas are the ultimate ideas – I just gave [Doorn] a few ideas of what I’ve experienced in the past and what’s worked for us and what might work for NSW – and understanding its DNA a little bit more,” he said.

“It was a wonderful experience for me coaching NSW. Loved it, every minute of it – the highs and the lows – and I think we can get back to that pretty quickly with this team.”

Cheika believes that the Waratahs should aim for stability and perhaps look to emulate the Reds, who are currently thriving after backing Brad Thorn.

“I think for NSW, maybe that’s the look, someone who can do that for the long-term, not looking to go somewhere else,” he added.

“Someone that understands this environment and wants to be here for the long-term and take this team back to the top.”