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Former Australia head coach Cheika lands new role at Japanese club

The 54-year-old has been appointed as director of rugby at NEC Green Rockets.

Michael Cheika [file photo].
Michael Cheika [file photo].
Image: David Davies

FORMER AUSTRALIA HEAD coach Michael Cheika has been named director of rugby at Japanese side NEC Green Rockets, the club has announced.

Cheika led the Wallabies to a 2015 World Cup final defeat to the All Blacks, before being named World Rugby coach of the year.

He ended a five-year stint in charge of Australia after a 2019 World Cup quarter-final defeat to England, and took up an advisory role with the Argentina national team last year.

He was also appointed head coach of Lebanon’s national rugby league team last November, ahead of this year’s Rugby League World Cup.

“I am very excited to be joining NEC in this new role,” the 54-year-old said in a statement released by NEC.

“Together with the company, the coaches and the players we will aspire to bring back the DNA of the NEC Green Rockets to bring pride and enjoyment to the whole NEC community.

“I look forward to working hard together with everyone to orchestrate a brighter world for NEC rugby and rugby in Japan.”

NEC finished bottom of their conference with seven defeats from seven games in this season’s Top League, which holds its final this weekend.

They edged into the playoffs by beating a second-division team but lost in the first round to Beauden Barrett’s Suntory Sungoliath, who face Panasonic in Sunday’s final.

All Black Barrett is one of several big names to have moved to Japan in recent years, with former international teammate Kieran Read and Australia skipper Michael Hooper also lining up this season.

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England head coach Eddie Jones is a consultant at Suntory, while former All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen is driector of rugby at Toyota Verblitz.

© – AFP, 2021

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