Cheika set for contract extension as another Wallabies head coaching candidate slips by


He might have intended to pass the baton on following the World Cup, but former Wallabies coach turned Los Pumas mentor Michael Cheika could be on the cusp of signing on with the South Americans.

A report coming out of Ole Rugby overnight said it was a “matter of numbers” now regarding Cheika’s contract extension with the UAR.

“We proposed to Cheika that he train until the end of the World Cup and organize the staff,” UAR president Gabriel Travaglini told Ole.

“He complied with that and intends to stay, so now we are analyzing it. We are making the best effort to have the best structure to face the next World Cup.”

The looming contract extension comes after Cheika took Los Pumas to this year’s World Cup semi-finals – a significant improvement from 2019, where Mario Ledesma’s side missed the knockout stages.

Cheika, who previously anointed assistant and national hero Felipe Contepomi as his preferred successor, told The Roar he would travel to Argentina to speak with his employers as to whether it was time to step away.

“I’ll go down there in a couple of weeks, and we’ll have a full debrief of what we did and then start making plans for the next World Cup. And then also decide what I’m going to do moving forward,” Cheika told The Roar in Paris.

“The original arrangement was that a young fella who I coached at length – Felipe Contepomi – he’s the guy who is going to take over at some stage.

“We’ll make a decision together on whether they think it’s good for me to stay on in that environment or does he want to go on his own.”

Michael Cheika looks set to continue in the role as Argentina’s head coach. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

As well as their strong World Cup result, Cheika led Argentina to famous away wins over the All Blacks and England in 2022.

Should Cheika continue in the role, it would all but end any speculation of him joining the NRL.

It would also make the picture clearer for the vacant Wallabies head coaching role, with Rugby Australia needing to fill the role after Eddie Jones sensationally walked out on the job less than a year into his five-year deal.

RA is closing in on naming their director of high-performance, with Billy Millard one of the favourites for the role.

Whoever is appointed will be tasked with leading the drive to appoint the Wallabies’ head coaching role.

Australians Dan McKellar and Stephen Larkham are two leading candidates to take over from Jones, while former Ireland coach and All Blacks assistant Joe Schmidt is another.

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