Former Wallabies lock Justin Harrison has backed Michael Cheika’s ability to revive Argentina’s faltering fortunes and deliver results at next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.
Cheika, the former Wallabies manager, is set to be announced as the new Pumas boss following Mario Ledesma’s resignation last month.
Cheika worked as Ledesma’s assistant and Argentine newspaper La Nacion reported that the Australian ‘won the arm wrestling match’ against Pumas great Gonzalo Quesada, another strong contender for the role.
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Cheika is said to have met Argentinian rugby president Marcelo Rodriguez and his right-hand man Gabriel Travaglini in Europe where his family is currently based.
Cheika is also the Director of Rugby at the NEC Green Rockets in Japan and works as a pundit for Nine and Stan Sport.
“He yo-yos between France and here and honors us with his presence,” Harrison told Stan Sport’s latest edition. Rugby heaven.
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“Listen, Argentina are clearly looking for some stability and some direction.
“He’s a man who can get results pretty quickly, which is what Argentina need a year and a half away from the World Cup.”
Indeed, Cheika took control of the Wallabies in similar circumstances in 2014 and guided them to the 2015 World Cup final.
He also took over as manager of the Waratahs in 2013 before leading them to a historic Super Rugby title the following season.
Argentina are at rock bottom after a disastrous 2021 season in which the Pumas won just three of 12 games and fell to ninth place in the world rankings.
If reports are correct, Cheika’s new role would be a throwback to her 2020 comments in an interview with The Times.
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“I always thought I could never go back and coach against a team I’ve coached before,” said Cheika, after stepping down as Wallabies coach following a quarter-final exit at the World Cup 2019.
“I feel like that’s almost being a traitor… I’ll never go against them.
“It’s my country. It’s my guys. It’s the shirt my kids wear. Obviously the management didn’t like me, for one reason or another and that’s how they got it. discussed.”
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