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‘It’s not the time’: Cheika pours cold water on Waratahs return

Michael Cheika said he would be happy to help the Waratahs in the future but has poured cold water on the prospect of replacing Rob Penney as head coach.

Cheika has been floated as a potential successor to Penney, who was sacked on Sunday, or even in a director of rugby role should the Waratahs opt to bring back the man who coached them to a Super Rugby title in 2014.

Michael Cheika as Waratahs coach in 2014.

Michael Cheika as Waratahs coach in 2014. Credit:Brendan Esposito

Speaking on Stan Sport’s coverage after the Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels match, Cheika was asked about the Herald’s report that NSW Rugby boss Paul Doorn sounded him out for his opinion on what coaching structure he thought would work in the future.

“We’ve had a casual conversation,” Cheika said. “I don’t think my ideas are the ultimate ideas. I just gave a few ideas of what I’ve experienced in the past and what’s worked for us and what might work for NSW and understanding its DNA a little bit more.

“I’d do anything to help them get back on track. It was a wonderful experience coaching NSW, I loved every minute of it, the highs and the lows. I think we can get back to that pretty quickly with this team.

“They have made some decisions now and they need to show some leadership going forward to get them right.”

Pressed on whether he would be interested in returning to the Waratahs, Cheika said now was not the time.

“I think that it’s not the time for me to be coaching the Waratahs,” Cheika said. “It’s maybe a little bit too fresh [and] raw. Also, from a national point of view, they don’t need me in that space probably at this point. They [Wallabies coaches] need some clean air . . . without the name from the last four or five years because it’s been a huge thing for me.

“Anything they need and anything the coaches need [I will help with]. Even when Rob came, I rang him to see if he needed anything from me, because I believe that continuity of what happened before you is really essential.”

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