Lebanon coach Michael Cheika leads Argentina to stunning 30-29 win over England at Twickenham just two days after Rugby League World Cup match

Michael Cheika has achieved one of the greatest feats in sporting history.

Just two days after leading Lebanon into their Rugby League World Cup quarter-final against Australia in Huddersfield, he then travelled south to Twickenham to coach Argentina against England in the 15-man code.

Though he was unable to guide the Cedars to a massive shock win against the Kangaroos, going down 48-4 to the world champions, he was on hand to coach the Pumas to a 30-29 upset over Eddie Jones’ England in front of 80,000 fans at Twickenham.

The result saw Argentina claim only their second every away win against England, but for Cheika it was a milestone moment in his coaching career after leading two international teams in two different sports over one weekend.

Cheika, 55, was born in Sydney and was recently the assistant coach of the Sydney Roosters. He was named head coach of the Argentina Rugby Union team in September 2020 before also accepting to become head coach of Lebanon Rugby League team two months later.

Both Cheika’s parents were born in Lebanon and despite admitting the obvious difficulties he would face being a dual-code coach, he stated he could not turn the opportunity to coach the nation of his roots down.

Despite defeat to Australia on Friday night, Lebanon were one of the standout teams at the Rugby League World Cup and excelled in wins over Ireland and Jamaica in the groups stages – playing some of the most expansive and entertaining rugby.

NRL and Lebanon star Mitchell Moses praised Cheika, saying: “The way he can get you up for a game, I’ve never seen it before to be honest.

“You hear about all the stories about how he gets teams up for games and I witnessed it first-hand and loved working under him.

“I think he has got a big future in the NRL if he wants a go at it. I think he could definitely coach a team one day if he sticks at it and if he wants to.”

His undoubted qualities as a coach were evident on Sunday, just two days after Lebanon’s loss, as he led Argentina to one of the most memorable victories in their history as they overcame a 16-12 half-time deficit to stun England in an epic 30-29 win.

It comes after leading the Pumas to recent victories over Australia and New Zealand, with Argentina now one of the favourites to win next year’s Rugby World Cup under Cheika’s guidance.

Speaking after the game, Cheika said: “It was good and it was tense. I really liked the way the guys prepared this week. They had a really good attitude about them.

“It was tricky too because no one in that side had won against England before so you’ve got to combine the mental side of it with the tactical and the technical side of it.

“It’s a great feeling and really nice for the lads to get that opportunity to have that experience here.”

Cheika will now build towards the Rugby World Cup in France next year, but as his coaching stock rises in both codes, he’s certainly sure to be targeted by big club and international teams over the coming months, with a move to the NRL not out of the question.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments