Melbourne link denied by Cheika
Published 03/01/2010 | 05:00
Leinster coach Michael Cheika has rubbished reports linking him with the new Melbourne rugby franchise which currently has reached an impasse in its negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU).
Cheika, who leaves Leinster at the end of the season to be replaced by Josef Schmidt, said yesterday that reports in Australia which claimed he was lined up for the job were well wide of the mark.
"All this stuff about me and Melbourne is genuinely just conjecture," he said. "No one has contacted me, let alone offered me a coaching job. That's genuine. They've made a call early days when it all started happening and they sounded out what I was doing -- both them and the ARU -- and I haven't heard a thing since."
The reports, in Australian media, said that investors in the new franchise had withdrawn because of a lack of funding from the ARU and that the development would have serious consequences.
Ray Evans, a minority stakeholder in the project, and who played with Cheika in Randwick in the 1980s, said of the Leinster coach: "He was very keen to come and was just waiting for the details of how much we were offering. He was going to bring a significant number of top players down here with him but that is all in doubt now."
Cheika was at pains to distance himself from these claims, however. "My concentration is well and truly on this place here (Leinster) because that's my style," he said. "Then we'll see how things work out, whether it's there or whether it's somewhere else or whether it's nowhere, I'm not too fussed. What I care about is us getting through in Europe and staying at the top in the Magners League and the rest of the stuff can work itself out from there."