Michael Cheika lands job in Japan’s Top League

Date published: May 20 2021 - Colin Newboult

Former Australia head coach Michael Cheika has become the latest big name to head to Japan after becoming director of rugby at NEC Green Rockets.

It will be Cheika’s first top job since leaving his role as Wallabies’ head honcho following their disappointing World Cup exit in 2019.

“I’m very excited to be joining NEC in this new role,” Cheika said in a statement. “Together with the company, the coaches and the players we will aspire to bring back the DNA of the NEC Green Rockets to bring pride and enjoyment to the whole NEC community.

A brighter world for NEC

“I look forward to working hard together with everyone to orchestrate a brighter world for NEC rugby and rugby in Japan.”

The 54-year-old became the Australia boss in 2014 and guided them to the final of the global tournament a year later.

However, he failed to build on that over the next few seasons and it culminated in the Wallabies going out to England in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Japan.

Cheika, who led the Waratahs to the Super Rugby title in ’14 and has also coached in Europe with Leinster and Stade Francais, will follow a number of top players and coaches from Australia and New Zealand in moving to Japan.