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Former Wallabies and Pumas coach Cheika appointed Leicester boss

Michael Cheika, who guided Australia to the 2015 Rugby World Cup final and Argentina to the 2023 semi-finals, has been appointed coach of English Premier League side Leicester, the club announced on Thursday.

The charismatic, outspoken 57-year-old Australian replaces compatriot Dan McKellar at the helm of the two-time European champion.

Tickets for the Wallabies 2024 Home Tests can be purchased here.

McKellar left after just one season as coach, Leicester finished a lowly eighth place in the Premiership and were eliminated by Leinster in the eighth finals of the Champions Cup.

Cheika achieved success with the Irish province of Leinster, which won the European Cup in 2009 by beating Leicester in the final.

He backed that up by winning the Super Rugby crown with New South Wales Waratahs in 2014.

“To be honest, I wasn’t really interested in the Premier League nor did I feel the need to coach there until Leicester Tigers approached me,” Cheika told the club website.

“But the opportunity to coach at Tigers and lead this group of players made me think.

“I want this to be my best coaching yet. If I can bring my best level, other people will bring their best level and good things will happen around us.”

Cheika said he would need time to get to know the players and channel their strengths to form a successful team.

“Everyone can see that the club has a top quality squad,” he said.

“I’m not going to lie and say I know them all inside and out, but that’s what I’m going to do over the next few months, to learn how to get the best out of them.

“But the selection is just paper.

“Now it’s about how the team thrives, how you can bring these really good players and characters together and get them playing in a way they love.”

Leicester CEO Andrea Pinchen said Cheika 2015 World Coach of the Year had the qualities to revive the club.

“He has achieved great success over more than twenty years in winning awards, but also in developing players, developing coaches and encouraging groups to be the best they can be,” Pinchen said.

“We want that, we need that and we believe Michael is the right person to get this team and this club back to where we know we need to be.

“After lengthy, detailed and very honest conversations with Michael over the past few days, we are on the same page about what is now needed to see this club back at the top.”

Cheika, whose colorful career has also seen him take charge of Lebanon at the 2022 Rugby League World Cup, will hold his first pre-season training with the squad on July 1.