Sunday 25 August 2019

Despite conflicting reports, RFU insists no contact made with Michael Cheika over England job

Michael Cheika, pictured, scares his Wallabies squad witless, according to Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton
Michael Cheika, pictured, scares his Wallabies squad witless, according to Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton

Nick Purewal

England bosses have denied making any approach for Australia coach Michael Cheika.

Reports in Australia claimed the Rugby Football Union (RFU) had sounded out Cheika about replacing Stuart Lancaster as England head coach, with president Jason Leonard supposedly having contacted the Wallabies boss.

An RFU spokesman rejected the reports, however, insisting: "There has been no contact."

Former Leinster boss Cheika is contracted to the Australia Rugby Union (ARU) until the end of 2017, but his profile has jumped markedly following the World Cup.

The 48-year-old guided the Wallabies to the World Cup final just a year after taking the helm.

The Australian newspaper reported that World Cup-winning prop Leonard had made contact with Cheika, as speculation builds about England looking at replacements for Lancaster.

Former Leeds coach Lancaster's position remains in jeopardy after England were eliminated from the World Cup at the group stages, becoming the worst-performing host nation in tournament history.

The five-man panel reviewing England's World Cup failure is due to report its findings to the RFU on November 17.

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Cheika was named World Rugby's coach of the year last week, following his whirlwind 12 months in the Test arena.

Australia lost out to New Zealand 34-17 in the World Cup final, with Cheika afterwards suggesting he still wants to carry the Wallabies forward in the future.

England have already been linked with Ireland boss Joe Schmidt and former South Africa coach Nick Mallett. The RFU is continuing to keep its counsel however, while its review continues.

PA Media

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