Sydney - Wallaby coach Michael Cheika on
Thursday agreed a two-year contract extension that will take him through to the
2019 Rugby World Cup in a major boost for Australian rugby.
Cheika is one of the highest profile names
in the sport after guiding Australia to the 2015 World Cup final and being
named World Rugby coach of the year.
His contract was due to expire next year
and he has opted for an early extension, which Australian Rugby Union chief
Bill Pulver said he was thrilled about.
"We could not be more delighted to
have secured Michael's services as national coach until at least the end of the
Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019," he said.
"Obviously his record as Wallabies
coach over the past 18 months speaks for itself, but it's the wonderful culture
and a renewed pride in the gold jersey that Michael has instilled in the team
which has laid the foundation for continued success."
Cheika boasted an impressive club coaching
record before taking the Australia job, having won the European Cup with Irish
province Leinster and the southern hemisphere Super Rugby title with Waratahs.
He said his time as national coach had been
an honour and it was a privilege to stay in the role until the next World Cup.
"I never imagined I would be in the
position of coaching Australia and feel extremely honoured to have the
opportunity to continue on for the next period though to the end of the 2019
World Cup in Japan," he said.
The 49-year-old added that he saw his job
as ensuring that every game the Wallabies play "fills the nation with
"It is a privilege to be associated
with the people involved with our national team and playing my part in
establishing the Wallabies identity for the years to come and for many years
after that," he said.
Cheika assumed the national coaching job
after the shock walkout of Ewen McKenzie in October 2014 following intense
speculation over player discontent and his private life.