Doing it properly: Michael Cheika to juggle Lebanon and Argentina roles this weekend

Josh McAllister
Michael Cheika Lebanon SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Michael Cheika has vowed to do Lebanon and Argentina justice this weekend when he combines his head coaching roles in league and union.

The 55-year-old will take charge of Lebanon in the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup against Australia on Friday night.

And on Sunday, Cheika will combine his league duties with being the head coach of Argentina’s rugby union side. The Pumas face Eddie Jones’ England in an autumn international at Twickenham.

“I’d say it’s going to be one day here, one day there,” Cheika said after Lebanon’s 74-12 win over Jamaica on Sunday.

“Everything here has to be nailed down first because we’re in a World Cup and it’s extremely important.

“I’ve done a lot of preparation work with the coaches from Argentina. They were here from Sunday through to Wednesday with the team last week. We had permission to have a camp, so I was able to spend a few days with them there because we had days off.

“That’s obviously a huge game with Argentina who’ll play England in the World Cup next year as well. It’s a huge match.

“There’s been a lot of talk about it, but for me it’s about doing it properly. Not just do it, but do it properly, doing it where I’m making a contribution to both teams and an important one as the coach and I think all the boys understand the scenario.”

Michael Cheika confident in his assistants

Cheika says he will rely on his assistants Felipe Contepomi and Matt King with Argentina and Lebanon respectively as he juggles both coaching roles this week.

“I’ve got good coaches with me in both teams,” he added. “Strategy will be set out, and we’ll start laying out this one today with the Cedars.

“Tomorrow we’ve already done some of the work with the Pumas. I like to trust the guys who are with me implicitly. We’re all the same person when we talk as coaches, whether that’s Felipe Contepomi in London or Matt King here, it’s the same thing for me.

“I’ve put myself in that scenario but it’s more about the challenges for me. Even to think I’ll be coaching a game against the Kangaroos would have never entered my mind. Now it’s here I really want to profit from the opportunity and learn from the experience of being in that scenario and playing against a team like that.”

Lebanon face reigning champions Australia in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. The clash takes place at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield on Friday night, 7:30pm kick-off.

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