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Michael Cheika says he's not interested in England job

Published 16/11/2015

Australia head coach Michael Cheika has ruled himself out of contention for vacant England job and insists he is committed to the Wallabies
Australia head coach Michael Cheika has ruled himself out of contention for vacant England job and insists he is committed to the Wallabies

England's options in their hunt for a new head coach continue to dwindle after Australia's Michael Cheika ruled himself out of contention to succeed Stuart Lancaster.

Two weeks after guiding the Wallabies to a World Cup final in which they succumbed 34-17 to New Zealand, Cheika became the latest high-profile candidate to withdraw from the running.

The Rugby Football Union is searching for a coach of "proven international experience" to replace Lancaster, who stepped down last week in the wake of England's failure to advance from the group stage of a tournament they hosted.

New Zealand's Steve Hansen, Joe Schmidt of Ireland and Wales boss Warren Gatland have committed themselves to their current employers, while Graham Henry and Wayne Smith, who have compiled outstanding CVs with the All Blacks, are not interested.

Eddie Jones, the mastermind of Japan's remarkable World Cup victory over South Africa in September, has distanced himself from becoming Lancaster's replacement, although leading bookmakers on Monday dramatically shorted their odds on him taking over.

To date the only proven international coach to have invited an approach is Jake White, but he has not presided over a Test team since steering the Springboks to glory at France 2007.

Cheika's success in transforming Australia from the rabble he inherited 13 months ago into World Cup finalists has seen his stock soar, but the 48-year-old is content with leading the Wallabies.

"No one from England has contacted me and they know that they can't contact me because I'm committed to Australia and that's where I want to be coaching," Cheika said.

"I'm an Australian coaching Australia, it's like the dream. There's nothing that would make me change my mind.

"I never thought I'd be coaching Australia. I'm enjoying it and I want to do the best I can in this role for as long as I can.

"You want to make sure that you give everything when you have the opportunity.

"When the chance comes to coach Australia, you don't say no to that. I've enjoyed the first year of doing it, it's been fantastic."

Lancaster paid the price for England's dismal World Cup in which they failed to reach the knock-out phase, stepping down in a decision the RFU board "unanimously accepted''.

Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt will keep their roles as assistants while the RFU conducts its search and Farrell could conceivably be at the helm for the RBS 6 Nations on an interim basis if no suitable candidate is found in time.

The determination to appoint a man of proven international experience would appear to rule out any of the directors of rugby at Aviva Premiership clubs, but Cheika believes the RFU should be looking closer to home.

"It's not really my place, but there are lots of good English coaches who could be coaching England for sure," Cheika said.

"If you look at a guy like Dorian West at Northampton, he's done such a good job with the scrum and forwards.

"There are also guys like Jim Mallinder, Rob Baxter and Dean Richards. I just think there are a lot of those guys who are typical of the English game and could do a lot for the team."

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