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Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika: I should have left the job before the RWC

Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he should have quit the job prior to last year’s Rugby World Cup.

Michael Cheika looks dejected in defeat after the Rugby World Cup 2019 Quarter Final match between England and Australia. Source: Getty

The 53-year-old opened up about the final year of his tenure as the coach during an interview with the Times and said he should have moved on when Rugby Australia started to make sweeping changes.

Cheika said in hindsight, what should’ve been the final straw was when Rugby Australia (RA) brought in Scott Johnson as director of rugby and introduced a three-man selection panel.

"In a footy team, there can only be one boss - that's all there is to it," Cheika said.

"I should have left, because that shows they didn't trust me any more."

The Australian governing body appointed Johnson after reviewing the Wallabies' poor 2018 season. 

The Wallabies lost nine of their 13 Test matches in 2018, which led to some questioning if the 2015 World Rugby Coach of the Year should be sacked.

Instead, Rugby Australia – at the time led by then-CEO Raelene Castle – appointed Johnson for 2019 and Cheika kept his job with the Japan-bound Wallabies.

Cheika then quit after the Wallabies were sent packing by eventual Rugby World Cup runners-up England in a 40-16 quarter-finals thrashing.

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The Aussie coach was seething at a match-changing call against Samu Kerevi for raising his forearms, among other decisions. Source: rugby.com.au

Cheika added he genuinely thought going into their campaign in Japan his side could come out on top.

"I loved Australian rugby and I thought I could do it," Cheika said.

"I believed I could get the players together, and I didn't want to let the players and the supporters down.“