Former Australia head coach Michael Cheika has admitted the fallout of the Rugby World Cup and his subsequent exit still ‘hurts’.
A quarter-final loss to England in Japan sunk the Wallabies to lowly depths and was in stark contrast to the success at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which saw Cheika’s stock shoot up after reaching the final at Twickenham.
Results had been in decline leading into the tournament last autumn, including losing the home series against Ireland in 2018 and the 46-0 hammering by the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship last summer.
With reports of a public spat with Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle after the tournament, Cheika’s five-year tenure with the Wallabies ended with his resignation last November.
“Am I satisfied in the end? No, because I wanted to win a Bledisloe and win the World Cup and I wasn’t able to do that,” Cheika told Fox Sports League Live.
“That hurts me personally because I really value the supporter on the street and I know that’s what they want.
“I see it in my own family. The kids are watching the game, all dressed in their jerseys and then the next morning, if you lose, they’re unhappy. So I feel it in my own family.”
After his acrimonious exit and the appointment of Dave Rennie as his successor following soon thereafter, it is unsurprising to see Cheika ditch Union and switch codes.
Now working as a consultant with NRL side Sydney Roosters, Cheika, the son of Lebanese immigrants, suggested he was safe in coaching rather than dealing with the bureaucracy.
“I’ve always been an outsider in rugby, outside the establishment,” Cheika added.
“Considering the circumstances we had going on in Australian rugby in the last five years, we always represented with maximum courage.
“Sometimes we weren’t at our best, had terrible halves and had to make comebacks.
“And we had some great wins as well. Our consistency was lacking.”