Michael Cheika has right moves, says Robbie Deans
AS THE finer details of Michael Cheika's multi-year deal to become the third Wallaby coach in less than two years are thrashed out, the buzzards are circling for the game's next victim, with increasing speculation ARU boss Bill Pulver's days are numbered.
Cheika was expected to be named as Ewen McKenzie's replacement yesterday, but the announcement was delayed to work out how his request to coach the national team and the New South Wales Waratahs could be accommodated.
Kiwi Robbie Deans, the first foreigner to take the Wallaby coaching reins, and the man McKenzie replaced in the top job last year, came out publicly to back Cheika as the right man to drag Australia out of the ruins with his renowned no-nonsense style that swept the Waratahs to the Super Rugby title this year.
Speaking from Auckland while promoting the sale of his book Red, Black & Gold, Deans openly endorsed Cheika as McKenzie's successor to a post that has so far proven extremely difficult for those who have taken on the challenge in recent years.
"When the worm turns, so to speak, it's challenging," said Deans, whose departure from the Wallabies job was also messy.
"Having been over there and experienced the environment, it's a tough, tenuous environment.
"It's not good for the game to see them struggle. Hopefully they'll respond constructively. It's very important to New Zealand rugby that Australia is competitive and strong."
Once Cheika's coaching deal is put to bed, the spotlight is expected to be on Pulver, who could well be the next casualty of the Kurtley Beale texting scandal.
The way Pulver has handled the Beale affair, and his apparent lack of support for McKenzie, has many questioning whether he is the right man to lead the game in the face of opposition from other codes, including the rapidly-growing A-League.