Michael Cheika has ruled out any interest in the England coaching role and said he’s fully committed to the Wallabies.
The news is a blow to the Rugby Football Union, who are looking for a big name to rebuild the nation’s reputation as a rugby power and were keen of making contact with Cheika following Australia’s superb World Cup campaign.
Stuart Lancaster stood down as coach this month with more than four years left on his contract after a disastrous campaign on home soil that saw England become the first side in World Cup history to fail to qualify for the knock-out stages.
But the former Leinster and Stade Francais mentor, who is in London to coach the Barbarians at Twickenham this weekend, said he’s no interest in a return to Europe.
“No one from England has contacted me and they know that they can’t contact me because I’m committed to Australia and that’s where I want to be coaching,” Cheika said.
“I’m an Australian coaching Australia, it’s like the dream. There’s nothing that would make me change my mind.
“I never thought I’d be coaching Australia. I’m enjoying it and I want to do the best I can in this role for as long as I can.
“You want to make sure that you give everything when you have the opportunity.
“When the chance comes to coach Australia, you don’t say no to that. I’ve enjoyed the first year of doing it, it’s been fantastic.”
RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie is looking for a coach of “proven international experience”, but Cheika’s desire to continue at the helm of Australia has thinned an ever-decreasing field that now offers few options.
New Zealand’s Steve Hansen, Joe Schmidt of Ireland and Wales boss Warren Gatland have stated they are not interested, as have Graham Henry and Wayne Smith who have compiled outstanding CVs with the All Blacks.
Eddie Jones, the mastermind of Japan’s remarkable World Cup victory over South Africa last month, has distanced himself from becoming Lancaster’s replacement and to date the only proven international coach to have invited an approach is Jake White.
However, White has not coached a Test team since steering the Springboks to glory at France 2007.