Cape Town - Former Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll has called on Rugby
Australia (RA) to stick with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika until next year's
Rugby World Cup.
Under Cheika's guidance, the Wallabies have recorded their
worst season in 50 years in which they won just four out of 13 Tests.
That poor return has led to RA launching a review of the
Wallabies set-up and the findings will be presented to the board on December
The Wallabies only have five more Tests to play before they
kick off their 2019 World Cup campaign against Fiji on September 21 and
O'Driscoll said it would be "very dangerous" to change coaches so
close to the World Cup.
"It's a very dangerous place to start replacing your
coach less than 10 months out from the World Cup," O'Driscoll told AAP.
"If someone can turn it around Michael Cheika can - he
was one coach after five years I never got bored of listening to."
O'Driscoll played under Cheika at Leinster from 2005 to 2010
with the Irish province winning a PRO12 title in 2008 and their first European
Champions Cup title in 2009.
But although O'Driscoll wants Cheika to retain his
positions, he did hint that changes in the Wallabies' management team could be
"Whether he has to change some personnel in his
backroom staff to bring a bit of freshness in, I don't know," added the
"But I've got a lot to admire in Michael Cheika.
"He'll be finding it tough but he's also a glass
half-full sort of guy where he'll feel he can turn it around in a short space
of time and do something that the Australian public and rugby world don't think
is achievable, and possibly get to another World Cup final."
O'Driscoll and Cheika are still in contact, and the former
British and Irish Lion said rugby fans have the wrong impression of the
"He's one of the coaches that I probably remain in
contact with," O'Driscoll said.
"I haven't been talking to him for a while but any time
he'd be in town or we'd be in the same city I'd always try and catch dinner
"I'm very very fond of him and he's a fun, normal guy.
What you see banging on panes of glass in coaching boxes - is not the Michael
Cheika that I know.
"He's obviously very passionate and wants to win, and
he's got a real sense of desire in what he does, otherwise he wouldn't have
been as successful as he has been."