Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has signed a contract extension with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) that will see him coaching Australia to the end of 2019.
The Wallabies mentor will set his sights on going one better at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, after agreeing to a two-year contract extension 18 months before his current contract was due to expire.
In his first full year at the helm in 2015 after taking over as Wallabies Coach for the 2014 Spring Tour, Cheika was named World Rugby Coach of the Year after leading the Wallabies to the Rugby World Cup Final and a maiden Rugby Championship title.
ARU CEO Bill Pulver said: “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.
“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.
“The performance of the Wallabies at the World Cup put Rugby back on the map in a huge way in Australia and you cannot understate the influence Michael has had, along with his fine coaching team, in igniting the passion of Australian rugby fans with the way the team performed both on and off the field during the tournament.”
Michael Cheika said: “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.
“Along with the other members of our team, I will be doing my absolute best to ensure that every game that the Australian Rugby team plays between now and then fills the nation with pride and all Australians can watch the Wallabies play in a way that Australians want to see rugby played.
“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.”
Cheika is the only Coach to have won the major Rugby competition in each hemisphere, winning a Super Rugby championship with the Waratahs in 2014 and the Heineken Cup with Irish club Leinster in 2009.
Born and raised in Coogee, NSW, the former number 8 played 286 matches for Randwick and represented his country at Under 21 level as a player.
Prior to his appointment as Wallabies Coach in 2014, Cheika had successful coaching stints with the NSW Waratahs (2013-2015), Stade Francais (2010-2012), Leinster (2005-2010), Randwick (2001-2005) and Padova (1999-2000).