Michael Cheika unfazed by dual-code coaching issues as Argentina-Lebanon fixture clash averted

Michael Cheika is ready for a late-night dash from Lebanon’s Rugby League World Cup camp to Argentina’s Test clash with England at Twickenham.

Cheika has balanced coaching Lebanon in league action with his Pumas head coach day job, but this weekend almost produced a fixture clash.

Lebanon face Australia in Friday night’s quarter-final, with Cheika proudly leading the Cedars given his Lebanese roots.

The demanding Australian coach will then go up against old friend and former Randwick team-mate Eddie Jones and England at Twickenham on Sunday.

Cheika has two modes of transport waiting to whisk him from Huddersfield to London after Friday’s Lebanon clash. And the 55-year-old revealed his packed week has actually unfolded well.

Michael Cheika coaches Lebanon in rugby league as well as Argentina’s union side (Getty Images)
Michael Cheika coaches Lebanon in rugby league as well as Argentina’s union side (Getty Images)

"I've got two methods ready to go, a car ready and a flight from Manchester in the very, very early hours – either way I'll be there for training on Saturday, I'll be sweet – all the bases are covered,” he said.

“It has been great, all in all it has gone a bit simpler than I thought it would, the travelling between the two, the messaging between the two.

“We did plenty of preparation beforehand with Argentina. It hasn’t been as stressful as it could have been, pretty seamless.”

Cheika spent Monday with Lebanon, Tuesday and Wednesday with Argentina, and has been back with the Cedars since.

The former Wallabies boss has somehow managed to avoid confusion between the codes, but called on his Argentina stars to keep their heads in the Twickenham maelstrom this weekend.

Asked if the constant code-hopping had caused any issues, Cheika replied: "Five tackles are good for ball security! But no confusion whatsoever. It's pretty easy to decipher between the two, the colours are pretty different; I'm sure I can work it out.

"It's been a good experience for me personally. One of the huge things for me always has been making sure I do the two things to the best of my ability and make sure both teams have the best possible opportunity. It's a one-off at this moment in time and I feel like we've handled it pretty well.

"I've been to Twickenham many times and you can get 'lost' out there if you are not really focused on what's important for your team and get carried away with the emotion of the game, big crowd, all those types of things that come with playing England at Twickenham.

"We've picked out four or five things that are very important for us a team this week and if we can excel at those, then as always happens in rugby let the cards falls where they do when it comes to the scoreboard; if you do those things well, by consequence you will be in the game."