Wallabies coach Cheika rules out coaching England

Michael Cheika has ruled out coaching England

Australia’s head coach Michael Cheika has ruled out taking over from Stuart Lancaster as England coaching saying that he already has his dream coaching job.

By ruling himself out of the running for the England job he has joined a growing list of high-profile figures who say that are not interested in taking the job.

Lancaster quit his position last week after England became the first host nation to fail to get out of the group phase.

“No one from there (England’s governing Rugby Football Union) has contacted me and they know they can’t contact me because I am committed to Australia,” Cheika, who led the Wallabies to last month’s World Cup final at Twickenham, told reporters in London.

“That’s where I want to be coaching.”

With RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie making it clear he wanted a coach of “proven international experience” to replace Lancaster, Cheika’s name was mentioned following his success in guiding the Wallabies to the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship title and the World Cup final in barely a year since taking charge.

Ritchie also made it clear that money was no object.

However Cheika — back in England for the temporary role of coaching the Barbarians in the multi-national invitational side’s matches against Gloucester and Argentina later this week — was adamant nothing could tempt him away from the Wallabies.

“I’m an Australian coaching Australia — it’s like the dream,” he said. “There’s nothing that would make me change my mind.”

New Zealand’s Steve Hansen and fellow Kiwis Warren Gatland and Joe Schmidt, in charge of Wales and Ireland respectively, have also said they are not interested in the England job.

Graham Henry, New Zealand’s World Cup-winning coach on home soil four years ago and compatriot Wayne Smith — who helped the All Blacks to World Cup glory this year — were equally emphatic that the Red Rose post was not for them.

Meanwhile Australia’s Eddie Jones, the man behind Japan’s stunning World Cup win over South Africa, has insisted he is committed to his new role with the Western Stormers.

The only major overseas coach to declare his interest in the England job is South Africa’s Jake White, who hasn’t been in charge of a Test side since guiding the Springboks to World Cup glory in 2007.

Cheika, whose current contract with the Australia Rugby Union expires in 2017, made it clear he was determined to stay with the Wallabies for as long as possible.

“I never thought I’d be coaching Australia,” said Cheika, who as a player never won a Test cap for the Wallabies. “I’m enjoying that and I want to do the best I can in that role for as long as I can.

“When the chance comes to coach Australia, you don’t say no to that. I’ve enjoyed the first year of doing it, it’s been fantastic.”

Ritchie’s desire to appoint a coach with international experience appears to rule out most of the current directors of rugby at England’s 12 Premiership clubs, unless he selects someone such as Bath’s Mike Ford who was a member of a previous England regime.

But Cheika said there were several homegrown candidates for the job.

“It’s not really my place, but there are lots of good English coaches who could be coaching England for sure.

“If you look at a guy like Dorian West at Northampton, he’s done such a good job with the scrum and forwards.”

Cheika added: “There are also guys like Jim Mallinder, Rob Baxter and Dean Richards. I just think there are a lot of those guys who are typical of the English game and could do a lot for the team.”

While Lancaster is no longer an RFU employee, his former assistants Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt remain on the payroll.

If Ritchie doesn’t get a new coach in time, Farrell could be in caretaker charge of England when the Six Nations starts in February.

Alternatively there could be a big shake up with Sir Clive Woodward coming in as a Director of Rugby with someone else taking the coaching duties.

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