waratahs.com.au and James Mortimer 19.Sep.2012Getty Images
His appointment follows an extensive search conducted by the Waratahs Rugby Board. Announcing the decision, Chairman Roger Davis said the panel had been unanimous in its support for the highly regarded former Randwick and Leinster coach as the best possible candidate to lead the HSBC Waratahs into a new and successful era.
Said Davis, “On behalf of the whole organisation, I’d like to welcome Michael to Waratahs Rugby. We are thrilled to have him on board.
“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.
“We believe he is the right man to embrace the HSBC Waratahs’ great tradition and ambition and develop a strong and successful culture that embraces all our supporters, partners and stakeholders.”
After calling time on his playing career in 1999, the highlights of Michael Cheika ’s 13-year coaching career include guiding Randwick to first and second grade Premiership titles in 2004 and steering Irish Province Leinster to Celtic League success in 2008 and a first ever Heineken Cup title in 2009.
Born in Sydney, the 45-year-old says he is proud to have been chosen to take charge of the HSBC Waratahs.
“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.
“I am really looking forward to being part of this new era in NSW rugby and will bring all the passion and professionalism I have to make this team one everyone will be proud of.
“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 team mates, 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.”
After impressing the panel consisting of David Mortimer (Sydney University President), Al Baxter (Waratahs Rugby Director), Jason Allen (Waratahs Rugby CEO) and Roger Davis (Waratahs Rugby Chairman), Michael will join the HSBC Waratahs on October 1, 2012.
Highly regarded within the NSW rugby community, the former No. 8 spent 14 seasons with Randwick, playing over 300 games for the club and winning seven Shute Shield Premiership titles between 1985 and 1999, captaining the side in his last two seasons. After launching his coaching career in Italy, where he spent a year as head coach of Series A side Petrarca Rugby, Cheika returned the Galloping Greens, where his three-year tenure culminated in the club achieving both first and second grade Premiership titles in 2004.
Moving to Europe, he spent five years at the helm of Irish Province Leinster, guiding them to five successive top-three Magners League finishes, including a Celtic league title in 2008. Aided by his then-assistant Alan Gaffney, in 2009 he led Leinster to a first ever Heineken (European) Cup title with an historic 19-16 win over English champions Leicester Tigers, helped by a man of the match performance from Rocky Elsom and a drop goal from inspirational Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll. He has spent the past two seasons as director of rugby with French Top 14 side Stade Francais.