After another disastrous start to their campaign and with more pain likely on the way at Eden Park, Michael Cheika is under pressure to bring about one of the biggest miracles in rugby history with a Wallabies win in Auckland, on the way to an unlikely Bledisloe Cup triumph.
But if he is to fail, should Rugby Australia step up and give Cheika the boot?
With a winning rate hovering just over 50 percent, losing home series to Ireland and England – including a three-game sweep – and only two wins in 10 against the All Blacks, an 18th lost Bledisloe Cup is perhaps the last straw.
In our readers’ poll, 80 percent of punters agreed with ESPN columnist Greg Growden that it was time for Cheika and his coaching panel to go. While it’s easy to call for the coach’s sacking, the question remains; is there a better candidate out there?
Below are five prospects capable of taking on the job. Who would you pick?
The current Ireland coach, Schmidt has seen lots of success and lifted plenty of silverware during his five-year tenure. Claiming three of the last four Six Nations titles, Schmidt led Ireland to as high as No.2 in the World Rankings, while his side produced their first win over the All Blacks and secured an away series victory over the Wallabies for the first time. Currently signed with Ireland past the 2019 World Cup, Rugby Australia may have a lot of work ahead of them if they’re to lure him away from the emerald isle.
Former South Africa coach Jake White became a household name after he led the Springboks to victory at the 2007 Rugby World Cup and 2004 Tri Nations. He later moved to Australia to take on the Brumbies role in 2012, but only stuck around for a season before moving back to South Africa hoping for a return to national duties. With a game plan commonly known as ‘Jake Ball’, many Australians may not fancy the style of rugby he brings, but with his current job coaching the Toyota Verblitz in Japan falling well short of his international ambitions, he could easily be talked into the Wallabies role.
This may seem a joke, but Scott Robertson has proven himself as one of the best coaches at Super Rugby level, leading his side to back-to-back championships while also remaining a laid back laconic character that continues to get the best out of his side. He may not have the years of experience behind him, but his unorthodox approach could be exactly what’s needed in the Aussie coaching box. Who knows, maybe he can respond to the Haka with his famous break dancing moves?
It’s a step back in time, but is it exactly what the Wallabies need? The former Waratahs, Brumbies and Rebels coach, MacQueen is best known for leading the Wallabies to a 1999 Rugby World Cup final victory over France, a win that saw Australia become the first nation to claim two World Cups. We saw five consecutive Bledisloe Cups, our first Tri Nations trophy and one of our most successful periods in international rugby. It’s a time in Wallabies history that stands out in every fan’s mind, but is it worth bringing MacQueen back? Or would we risk spoiling the aura that MacQueen still has in our collective memories?
An old school rugby head, Thorn has seen greatness in both rugby and rugby league, and makes any unruly player sit up and follow his lead. His message to his players is clear and succinct, he pushes his side and is all about the old school approach – including ‘asking’ his players to present respectable haircuts. While he may not have seen success yet at the Reds, his approach to the game could be what the Wallabies need in a time when they are struggling to see favourable results on the pitch.
Vote for your choice in our poll below or if you don’t agree with our options, let us know on Twitter.