Australia: Will Genia backs Michael Cheika to return as Wallabies coach for 2027 World Cup

David Skippers
Michael Cheika Wallabies head coach RWC 2015 - PA.jpg

Former Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia believes the team’s former head coach Michael Cheika could return to coach the two-time world champions at the 2027 Rugby World Cup which will be held in Australia.

Cheika is currently working on an 18-month contract as Argentina’s head coach and has had great success in this year’s Rugby Championship. He has already led Los Pumas to a record victory over the Wallabies in San Juan and guided them to a maiden triumph over the All Blacks in New Zealand last week.

The Wallabies‘ current coach Dave Rennie was in discussions with Rugby Australia about extending his contract until the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia in 2025 but the negotiations have been put on hold until after the Rugby Championship.

Cheika catching the eye with Argentina

But Argentina’s superb achievements under Cheika has caught the attention of many rugby enthusiasts and Genia feels his former coach will return to lead the Wallabies.

“I can see it and I would love to see it because I know he still harbours aspirations for it,” Genia told Fox Sports.

“He loves coaching.”

Former Wallabies back-row Stephen Hoiles, who was coached by Cheika at the Waratahs when they won the Super Rugby title in 2014, echoed Genia’s sentiments and said Cheika’s short-term success with Los Pumas is an indication that he could return to the Wallabies.

“Cheik’s smart enough to realise that there’s no expectations with Argentina,” Hoiles said. “Basically 18 months, you can’t do much, but he did it with Australia in 2015 and took them to the World Cup final.”

When Cheika took charge of the Wallabies in 2014, the team were languishing in fifth position in the world rankings and soon dropped down to six but he did well to guide them to the World Cup final in England the next year where they finished as runners up to the All Blacks.

He has been criticised in the past for his abrasive coaching style but Genia, who made 110 Test appearances for Australia, revealed that although other players may have had a problem with Cheika’s approach, he did not.

“It’s important to say this for me, I never felt that way with Cheik because I had a really good connection with him,” Genia said.

“It’s not as if the voice or the message at all was lost because I really bought into what he wanted us to do. But I did get a sense of the group, particularly younger guys coming through, that his voice didn’t necessarily resonate with them.”

Genia added: “It makes sense. I think with all coaches, they’ve got, like, an expiry date because you’ve touched on it before, you can only hear the same voice and the same message for so many years.

Passionate style

“You’ve got exceptions to the rule like a Craig Bellamy or a Sir Alex Ferguson and people like that. But I think in general, and probably particularly with someone like Cheika, who is very passionate and very fiery, there certainly is an expiration date.

“It’s no disrespect to the man himself but there’s only so much you can hear the same message and the same voice from the same person before it becomes, like, we need something new, we need time to refresh and rejuvenate the environment.”

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