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Will Michael Cheika be a good fit for Leicester Tigers?

Leicester Tigers have parted ways with head coach Dan McKellar after just one season at Welford Road. 

The Australian joined the club following Richard Wigglesworth’s departure to join Steve Borthwick’s England staff, however it was a tough season in the East Midlands.

Leicester limped to an eight-placed finish in the Premiership, and won just one of their final four games in the league. A huge problem for the Tigers was their attack too, only scoring 55 tries in 18 league games (3.1 tries a game) compared to Northampton Saints’ 80 tries.

Just 10 days ago, the club confirmed their coaching staff for the 2024/2025 season with McKellar still at the helm, but the club now begin their search for a new coach.

But who will step into the role? An incredibly familiar name is leading the way

Michael Cheika to take top job at Leicester Tigers?

The clear front-runner at the moment is former Wallabies, and current Argentina coach Michael Cheika. The Australian coach led his country to the 2015 World Cup final and also guided Los Pumas to the 2023 World Cup semi-finals too.

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He also has experience coaching in the club game too. He was Leinster head coach between 2005 and 2010, and won the Heineken Cup and two Celtic League titles during his stint. Cheika has also coached the NSW Waratahs and Stade Français, guiding the Parisians to a European Challenge Cup final.

The 57-year-old has also had stints in ‘the other code’. He took the reigns at Lebanon for the delayed 2021 World Cup in England, and guided them to the quarter-finals. He has also acted as an assistant for NRL side Sydney Roosters.

There were also rumours linking him with the role last season prior to McKellar’s eventual appointment, however it seems almost certain he will be taking over as top dog ahead of their pre-season campaign.

Why Cheika would be a good appointment

Leicester Tigers is a club that demands success, but times have been tough in the past 10 years. Whilst they lifted the Premiership title in 2023, they failed to make the semi-finals in five of the past seven seasons, and finished 11th in the table in both 2019 and 2020.

Dan McKellar’s era showed signs of promise too, however this eventually faded away.

But, Michael Cheika could transform the Tigers into the beast of old. Cheika’s time with Argentina showed he can build a team from the ground up to play both a brutal forward game and a flamboyant backline too, which is what Leicester need.

Leicester are blessed with some of the best up-and-coming forwards in world rugby right now in George Martin and Ollie Chessum, and Cheika’s system could really help them become world beaters. If it worked for Pocock, Hooper and even Leo Cullen, there’s no reason it can’t for them.

Cheika is also a coach that demands success. His time at Leinster turned them into the dominant force we know today, and he has only backed that up with Stade Français and the Wallabies too. He sets incredibly high standards for his teams, and missing out on the top four will not be an option under him.

Big clubs deserve big name coaches like Cheika, and if he opts to join the Tigers he could bring them back to the promised land.