Rugby: Cheika named as new Waratahs coach

Michael Cheika. Photo / Getty Images
Michael Cheika. Photo / Getty Images

Michael Cheika has been handed the task of revitalising the struggling NSW Waratahs as their new head coach.

Cheika's appointment ends a two-month search for Michael Foley's replacement, following his controversial departure to Super Rugby rivals Western Force.

Waratahs chairman Roger Davis said the board was unanimous in selecting 45-year-old Chieka, who spent the past two seasons as director of rugby with French Top 14 side Stade Francais.

After calling time on his club playing career in 1999, former forward Cheika's 13-year coaching career highlights include guiding Randwick to a Sydney premiership title in 2004 and steering Irish province Leinster to Celtic League success in 2008 and a first-ever Heineken Cup (European) title in 2009.

"In addition to a wealth of domestic and international coaching experience, Michael has a proven track record as an inspirational leader and an agent of change," Davis said.

"We believe he is the right man to embrace the Waratahs' great tradition and ambition and develop a strong and successful culture that embraces all our supporters, partners and stakeholders."

NSW capitulated to their worst-ever Super Rugby season in 2012, but Cheika said he was looking forward to the challenge of turning the struggling franchise around.

"The opportunity to coach the Super Rugby team of my home state and the responsibility to make all our supporters and all people from NSW proud of their team is one that motivates me immensely," he said.

"My immediate goal is to establish our identity loud and clear, inside and outside of the team; who we are, how we are going to play the game and what we are prepared to do to earn the respect of our teammates, our supporters and our competitors, as individuals and as a team.

"By achieving this we will earn the right to think about getting some good results."

-AAP

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