Raelene Castle 'Surprised' By Ex-Coach Cheika's Comments
Wallabies players and former coach Michael Cheika have landed in Sydney. The Cup is over but the recriminations are only starting.
While still in Japan after the Wallabies' disappointing 40-16 loss to England in the Rugby World Cup 2019 quarter finals, Cheika surprised many by saying he had "no relationship" with Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle or Chairman Cameron Clyne.
In a sitdown today with 10 news First reporter Jono Wililams, Castle called those comments "surprising".
"In my experience, dealing with a number of head coaches, the relationship between the CEO and the head coaches is not always a straightforward one and can be quite complex," she said.
"But what I can assure you is that in re-appointing Michael in November last year to see through to the Rugby World Cup, the board and myself gave him every level of support that we possibly could to ensure that he could be successful."
Castle admitted the last few days had been difficult, and said everyone was "very hurt" after losing. She also said she understood how frustrated the fans are.
"It's not a performance we expect from a Wallaby team and to exit that way in the quarter finals is not the standard we expect from the Wallabies, so we really understand everyone is hurting," she said.
Castle wouldn't be drawn on who the next Wallabies coach might be, but Cheika made it clear he believes that person should be an Australian.
As for whether the tension between the CEO and coach had spilled over and affected the players, retiring senior Wallaby David Pocock dismissed the link.
"They were certainly very good at hiding that from the players," he said of the faltering relationship.