Michael Cheika

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Michael Cheika
Place of birth Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation(s) Rugby Union coach
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position No. 8
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
NSW Waratahs
Stade Français
Rugby Livorno
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Australia Australia U-21
Coaching career
Years Club / team
Stade Français
NSW Waratahs
Rugby union career

Michael Cheika is a former Australian rugby union player and current coach. He is currently a dual-Head Coach with the New South Wales Waratahs, who play in the trans hemisphere Super Rugby competition, and the Australian national team, having taken over from Ewen McKenzie. Having previously coached Padova, Randwick, Leinster and Stade Français he was announced as the head coach of the New South Wales Waratahs for the 2013 Super Rugby season.[1]

He is the only coach to have won the major rugby club competition in each hemisphere, winning the Heineken Cup with Leinster in 2009 and the Super Rugby competition with the Waratahs in 2014.

Playing career[edit]


Cheika was a No. 8.[2] He played more than 300 games for the Galloping Greens, winning seven Shute Shields during a period when Randwick dominated Sydney rugby.[3] He captained Randwick between 1997 and 1999.[4]


Cheika represented Australia at U-21 level.

Other Clubs[edit]

Cheika represented New South Wales, and played for Castres Olympique and Stade Français in the French league as well as Italian side Rugby Livorno alongside Randwick teammate David Knox.

Coaching career[edit]


Cheika had never coached before but when David Campese brought a coaching job to his attention in Italy he applied and was successful. Cheika and Knox coached Padova through a Heineken Cup campaign but did not yield any wins.[5]


Cheika returned to Sydney in 2001 when his father fell ill. With European coaching experience under his belt he secured the Randwick coaching ticket and guided his old club to a Shute Shield victory in 2004.[6]


Cheika replaced Declan Kidney as head coach at Leinster in May 2005. Mick Dawson, Leinster's chief executive described it as a calculated punt.[7] Kidney had left in contentious circumstances having agreed a move to rivals Munster before the season's end and Leinster were said to be in disarray.[8] Cheika brought assistant David Knox, his former teammate, with him to Ireland.

Cheika's first season culminated in a Heineken Cup semi–final against Munster, which Munster won on their way to lifting the trophy. Cheika's second season in charge was a difficult one as Leinster were knocked out of the Heineken Cup at the quarter-final Stage by London Wasps The 07/08 season saw more European disappointment when Leinster failed to get out of their qualifying pool, but Leinster did secure the Celtic League trophy with a bonus point win against Newport Gwent Dragons. It was Cheika's first trophy as Leinster coach and Leinster's first since 2001's Celtic League.[9]

Leinster added Alan Gaffney in for the 2009 season as backs coach to add to Kurt McQuilkin as defence coach and forwards coach Jono Gibbes .[10] Leinster lost their Magner's Celtic League crown to Munster in 2009 but European success was achieved in Leinster's first Heineken Cup final, which they won 19–16, becoming the club champions of Europe.[11]

He left his post with Leinster Rugby at the end of the 2009–10 season to become head coach for French Top 14 side Stade Français.

Stade Français[edit]

Cheika was Director of Rugby of the Paris-based club between 2010 and 2012. It has been reported that his time at Stade Français was less successful than at previous clubs with off-field trauma and mediocre on-field results making his life very difficult culminating in him being sacked.[12]

New South Wales Waratahs[edit]

On 18 September 2012 Cheika was announced as the head coach of the New South Wales Waratahs for the 2013 Super Rugby season.[13] It has been reported that his contract is for three years. In 2014 Cheika coached the NSW Waratahs to their first ever minor-premiership. The Waratahs finished seven points ahead of their nearest rivals. The Waratahs defeated the ACT Brumbies in the semi-final which earned them a first-ever home final against their Christchurch-based rivals, the Canterbury Crusaders, whom the Waratahs had not defeated in over a decade. In the 2014 Super Rugby final, The Waratahs won; beating the Crusaders by a single point, 33-32, in a nail-biter in front of a Super Rugby record crowd of over 61,007 people at ANZ Stadium, Sydney.[14]


On 22 October 2014, Cheika was announced as the head coach of the Australia national team on a three-year contract, that would see him take the Wallabies through the 2015 Rugby World Cup.[15] Cheika takes over from Ewen McKenzie effective immediately, following McKenzie's shock resignation on 18 October 2014. He had very little time with the team, from being appointed on 22 October, to joining the player contingent on 24 October to fly to Europe for the Wallabies 2014 Spring tour against the Barbarians, Wales, France, Ireland and England. In his first match as coach of Australia, Australia defeated the Barbarians 40-36 at Twickenham Stadium.[16][17]




Private life[edit]

Cheika is the son of Lebanese migrants. He is the youngest of three children and grew up in a working-class home in Coogee, New South Wales.[21] He has previously worked for dress designer Collette Dinnigan, before starting a multimillion-dollar fashion business of his own called Live Fashion.[22] He speaks fluent Arabic, French and Italian.[23][24]

Cheika married in June 2008.[25] He was known amongst the Leinster rugby fraternity as Mic Check 1–2, a humorous allusion to his name, Craig McLachlan's band and his eagerness that all facets of preparation were scrutinised and reviewed prior to matchday.[citation needed]


  1. ^ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/michael-cheika-confirmed-as-waratahs-coach/story-e6frg7mf-1226476381906
  2. ^ http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/profiles/backroom.php
  3. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/cheika-appointed-waratahs-coach-20120918-263a1.html
  4. ^ http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/profiles/backroom.php
  5. ^ http://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/heineken-cup/wild-card-1749023.html
  6. ^ http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/profiles/backroom.php
  7. ^ http://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/heineken-cup/wild-card-1749023.html
  8. ^ http://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/features/declankidneyprofile.html
  9. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/club/3018874/Celtic-League-Final-Red-card-for-Miller-spoils-Leinster-win.html
  10. ^ http://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/2008/0318/leinster.html
  11. ^ Belfast Telegraph
  12. ^ http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/michael-cheika-to-coach-the-waratahs-in-the-2013-season/
  13. ^ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/michael-cheika-confirmed-as-waratahs-coach/story-e6frg7mf-1226476381906
  14. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/cheika-appointed-waratahs-coach-20120918-263a1.html
  15. ^ Michael Cheika unveiled as Wallabies coach
  16. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-02/wallabies-hold-barbarians-in-40-36-thriller/5860448
  17. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-match-report/wallabies-hang-on-to-beat-barbarians-at-twickenham-to-start-michael-cheikas-tenure-with-a-win-20141101-11fld9.html
  18. ^ 2007–08 Celtic League
  19. ^ 2009 Heineken Cup Final
  20. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-02/waratahs-win-maiden-super-rugby-crown/5643738
  21. ^ Bret Harris (2 August 2014). "Waratahs coach Michael Cheika a gentle giant with an iron will". The Australian. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  22. ^ Sarah Ferguson (4 September 2014). "How did this man turn Australian sport's biggest underachievers into winners?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  23. ^ Vincent Hogan (2009-05-23). "Wild card". Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  24. ^ BRET HARRIS (22 September 2012). "Michael Cheika will bring his no compromise style to NSW Waratahs". THE AUSTRALIAN. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  25. ^ http://forum.leinsterfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=10837&p=220313&hilit=cheika+married#p220313

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ewen McKenzie
Australian national rugby union coach
Succeeded by