KEO News Wire

Horwill backs under-pressure Cheika

James Horwill has backed Michael Cheika to stay on as head coach and thinks he can inspire Australia to a strong World Cup challenge next year.

Cheika is set to face the Rugby Australia board next week following a poor Rugby Championship campaign and will be expected to outline his plans for an upturn in fortunes.

The Wallabies were heading for the wooden spoon before fighting back from 31-7 down at half-time to beat Argentina 45-34 in a Salta thriller last weekend.

Horwill does not believe replacing Cheika is the answer and thinks Australia have the quality to go far in Japan next year.

The former Australia captain told Omnisport: “The Wallabies have had a tough time of it, there is no doubt about that, but I think he [Cheika] will stay on.

“I don’t see them making a change now. He has the support of the players, I think they have shown they are behind him.

“They are trying different things and there is stuff going on in the background. They had a poor first half and a good second half last weekend, which about sums it up.

“There are aspects to work on and he [Cheika] knows that, he is looking at different combinations and this is the time to do that. 

“I still think we can challenge at the World Cup, the quality is there. Yes, there is work to do, but they are working on things and if they can get it right when it matters, there is no reason why they cannot be contenders in Japan.”

There has been talk of George Gregan or John Eales being brought in to assist Cheika, but Horwill is not convinced there is any need to tinker with the staff.

“I think it’s important to back the coach and let him do things in his own way,” the Harlequins lock added. News wire is powered by opta

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