SYDNEY – Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he will likely quit if he fails to lead Australia to victory at the World Cup in Japan next year.
The two-time winner has been pitted with Wales, Georgia, Fiji and Uruguay in a Pool D pundits have called a dream draw, although Cheika has warned against complacency.
Australia lost the 2015 World Cup final to the All Blacks and the 50-year-old said he has set himself a win-or-walk ultimatum in Japan, with making the decider again not enough to sway him to give it one more crack in 2023.
“The way I see it is like this: we came second in the last one and you have got to improve,” he told the Sydney Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.
“So there is only winning the World Cup, otherwise it is probably somebody else’s opportunity to do it.
“What I would like to do in the interim is leave enough legacy in there so that that person has the best possible chance to do it as well.”
Cheika, who is out of contract at the end of 2019, admitted showing his cards so early was “probably not the normal answer.”
“People love to hedge their bets because they want their next contract,” he said, adding that his motivation was to leave the Wallabies on a high.
“So, in a World Cup, that’s a good chance to leave and to leave behind the legacy that you’ve built in the interim. That’s the target. You have to do better. And doing better is coming first.”
The Telegraph said Cheika was grooming assistant coach Stephen Larkham to take over, and he reiterated his belief that the former ACT Brumbies star had the tools to replace him.
“It is obviously not my decision . . . but that’s what I like, I like the idea of having that type of succession,” he said.
“Stephen has come on in leaps and bounds, even just in the time he’s only been in this role (full-time) and understanding how to integrate and effect and understand, and listen.
“He still has a way to go, and he knows that. One great thing with him is he is really self-aware, he knows what he needs to do to become better and take the team forward.”