TOKYO, 20 Oct - Michael Cheika has confirmed that he will leave his role as Australia head coach when his current contract expires at the end of 2019.
In February of last year Cheika said he would walk away if the Wallabies did not win Rugby World Cup 2019, and the day after he saw his side beaten 40-16 by England in the quarter-finals, the 52-year-old stuck to his word.
"I'm the type of man who is always going to back what he says and I knew from the final whistle but I just wanted to give it that little bit of time to settle down, talk to my people and then make it clear," he said on Sunday. "I just wanted to speak to my wife and tell a few people up there about it. I put my chips in earlier in the year when I told people, 'No win, no play'.
"I have no regrets about making the call but I would love to stay on, I’m really attached to the team but, like I said, I made that call. I wanted to show I was prepared to put myself on the line and achieve what I believed the team could achieve and we didn’t do it."
Cheika was appointed head coach in October 2014 and swiftly led the then sixth-ranked Wallabies to the RWC final in 2015. The highs have been sporadic since then, with headline-grabbing wins, such as the 47-26 defeat of the All Blacks in August this year, notable for their rarity.
"We weren’t able to deliver consistency over the whole time," admitted Cheika, pictured top with captain Michael Hooper. "We had some great moments and that comes with part of the challenges we have got with losing players overseas, young players coming through."
The former Leinster and NSW Waratahs head coach said he had "loved every minute" of his five years in charge of the Wallabies and was "proud" of what he had achieved.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said: "Michael is a passionate and experienced coach who worked tirelessly to get the best out his players. He cares deeply about the Wallabies and the game of rugby, and always set out with the aim of making Wallabies fans proud of the team’s performances."
Of his future plans, Cheika said: "It would be very hard to replicate the thrill and excitement of coaching at international level. It gives you a buzz every time you go out there. I’ve never coached as a job, I’ve always coached for the thrill or the pleasure."