Rugby World Cup 2019: Australia already looking for Michael Cheika replacement - if he loses

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. Photo credit: AAP

The wheels are already in motion to find a successor for coach Michael Cheika, should the Wallabies not win the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Contracted through to the tournament, Cheika said last year he would walk away, should Australia not hold the Webb Ellis Cup aloft in Tokyo on November 2, believing that anything else would represent a lack of progress, after they made the final in 2014.

The Wallabies' stocks have plummeted since then, last year losing nine of their 13 tests - their worst season since 1958 - including a 3-0 Bledisloe Cup sweep by the All Blacks, and defeats to Wales and England on the year-ending overseas tour.

New Zealand have already laid out the process for a replacement for their outgoing coach Steve Hansen, who will step down after the rugby showpiece.

Assistant Ian Foster and triumphant Crusaders Super Rugby coach Scott Robertson are already pencilled in for December interviews.

Rugby Australia director Scott Johnson said the feelers were out for suitable candidates, should Cheika leave the role or his contract wasn't renewed after the tournament.

He said he couldn't speak for Cheika's post-World Cup intentions.

rwc click through
Photo credit: Newshub.

"We're doing our due diligence," Johnson said, before the Wallabies' Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday.

"It's not like we're sitting back and doing nothing. We're understanding that we've got a process."

After holding coaching roles with the Wales and Scotland national sides, Johnson said it would be "hypocritical" of him to insist the next Wallabies coach be Australian.

Former Chiefs coach Kiwi Dave Rennie has been linked to the post, although he is signed with current club Glasgow until mid 2020.

"I think we're after quality," Johnson said. "I don't put a nationality next to the next person.

Former Chiefs coach Dave Rennie
Former Chiefs coach Dave Rennie. Photo credit: Photosport

"It would be nice to have Australians in place, but they have to be quality and that is what we've got spend some time doing.

"There's everyone in the frame that's coaching around the world and we're trying to find someone that suits."

Rennie was also believed to be in the sights of the Waratahs, after Daryl Gibson's departure.

Johnson said RA was involved in the appointment of the new Waratahs coach.

"The beauty of it is we're getting a more aligned system here and whilst it's a Waratahs pick, we certainly are being involved in the process."

Meanwhile, RA hasn't closed the door on luring back the likes of Will Skelton for the World Cup, despite the lock signing a new Saracens deal, but he would have to commit to Australian rugby.

"There is ongoing discussions with a few players, we're not just talking about for World Cup," Johnson said.

"Will's not unlike some others - Australian players will be discussed often to see what's in the best interest of our Wallabies or pro teams.

"We're trying to pick anyone who we think can contribute to our programme that commits to our programme, that's what we'll pick."


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