Michael Cheika's time as Wallabies coach is up - Growden

Cheika: We were just a little slow at the lineout. (0:54)

Cheika: We were just a little slow at the lineout. Video by Sam Bruce (0:54)

Come in Michael Cheika and your merry men, your time is up.

If Rugby Australia is serious about a productive 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign as well as regaining the faith of thousands of disenchanted Wallabies supporters, they must get rid of Cheika, and all of his backup coaching and managerial staff now.

Not at the end of the year, or after the World Cup. Right now.

They must try to lure Joe Schmidt from Ireland, maybe even entice a Wayne Bennett or Craig Bellamy-like figure across from the rugby league ranks. Anything ... because this rot has to stop.

Drastic action is required because Cheika's Wallabies are going absolutely nowhere, sending Australian rugby into a frightening nose-dive. Cheika must pay the price for a team whose appalling skill level makes a mockery of the professional footballer tag, and arrogant, holier-than-thou attitude does not warrant any respect from those sick and tired of a pedestrian outfit who constantly makes fools of themselves in the big games.


Barrett: Before I knew I was a footy boy, I wanted to

Barrett: Before I knew I was a footy boy, I wanted to play for Real Madrid. Video by Sam Bruce

And the Wallabies faithful have clearly had enough. On Saturday night when the Wallabies gave up in the second half, several Australian supporters, decked out in the green and gold garb, stood in front of the Wallabies coaches box and after fulltime displayed their anger.

Several gave the 'thumbs down' sign at the box, and others blew raspberries at Cheika and Co. Then on the way out, they furiously banged on the window, to make certain they were seen, with more 'thumbs down' gestures. They were disgusted, and rightly so. The Wallabies yet again failed to provide value for money -- and when you lose the fans, it's all over red rover. The coaching staff deserved to witness such anger, because they are at the core of the problem.

Surely Cheika cannot survive. The players are no longer responding to his 'fire and brimstone' manner, an approach which always has a limited lifespan.

Cheika's coaching record since taking over in November 2014 is unacceptable: 25 wins and two draws from 49 Tests, a lamentable 51 percent success rate. He's only won one of his last six Tests. The Wallabies are now ranked fifth in the world and sinking fast. Against the big teams, Australia under Cheika have constantly been also-rans: only two wins in 10 against the All Blacks, a solitary win in seven Tests against England, just one in five against Ireland, while even Scotland have snared two wins in their four internationals.

Cheika's success rate has been bolstered by triumphs over such powerhouses as the United States, Fiji, Uruguay, Italy and Japan.

He can't even get his team to win at home - with just nine victories in 19 Australia-based internationals, on top of 10 wins in 23 away Tests. Neutral Tests are the go, with six out of seven Test finishing in victories. Maybe that's why Australia are playing New Zealand their final Test this year in Tokyo - because it gives them a better statistical chance.

The only highlight has been the Wallabies making the 2015 World Cup final. But Australia got there by default. Scotland have every right to still complain about being dudded by referee Craig Joubert in their quarterfinal. Scotland should have advanced, not the Wallabies.

Compare all that to the industrious Schmidt who in Ireland has so much less to work with. He enjoys a 73 percent Test success rate, winning 81 percent of home Tests, 63 percent away, and 83 percent on neutral territory.

Others have to take the brunt as well. Cheika, a poor selector as shown by Australia's most exclusive club revolving around those who haven't been picked by him for a Wallabies training squad, has made the cardinal error of surrounding himself with acolytes. It never works. The formidable coaching combinations have edge, conflicting viewpoints.

When the Wallabies won the World Cup in 1991, the wily Australian Rugby Union president Joe French demanded coach Bob Dwyer was accompanied by foes - Bob Templeton as assistant and John Connolly as selector. It worked.

When the Wallabies won the World Cup in 1999, coach Rod Macqueen treated the operation as if he was CEO of a major corporation. With wise intervention from the ARU, Macqueen surrounded himself with good operators like Jeff Miller, Tim Lane, Steve Nance, Alec Evans and John Muggleton. Again different, constructive opinions, and once more it worked.

And remember how successful New Zealand were when Graham Henry, Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith worked in tandem. I guarantee you there would have been some vigorous debates when that trio started discussing anything All Black.

Now the Wallabies coaching staff comprises of a forwards coach, whom only a rugby trainspotter would have had a clue who he was when appointed a few months ago. Simon Raiwalui was a Fijian international, who played club footy in Sydney. Riiiiight.

It wasn't a great Bledisloe Cup debut for him. The forward pack Raiwalui was in charge of lost seven own lineout throws and suffered six scrum penalties. The set-piece was a disaster.

The defence coach is Nathan Grey. The Wallabies missed 41 tackles. Under Grey, nothing new there. Next.

Stephen Larkham was a great player, but you can't exactly say he has revitalised Australian back play. Still muddled crossfield shufflers.

Michael Byrne is the skills coach. The former AFL player made his name at the All Blacks. Then again the great Australian Test cricketer Bill O'Reilly used to say: "A border collie dog could coach the All Blacks."

Has the skill level of the Australian team improved since he joined? I can't see it. Witness the dreadful kicks, elementary dropped balls, poor passing skills of numerous Wallabies on Saturday night, against an opposition which never got out of second gear. To lose by 25 points to one of the least impressive All Blacks teams of recent times, who produced only a five-out-of-10 performance, is downright embarrassing. But we keep hearing from the coaching panel that the Wallaby skills are improving. Pull the other one.

This coaching contingent needs a drastic shakeup, as does the whole of the Wallabies staff. As with everything Rugby Australia, it involves a cast of thousands, countless networkers and hangers-on. The Test program listed 18 Wallabies back-up staff. Eighteen!!! I remember the days when the Wallabies would go on long tours with a coach, assistant, doctor and a manager. That was it. In this days they also won consistently, and against formidable opponents.

Cheika is the shopfront window of the Australian game. It's not a good image when virtually every time the cameras cross to him in the coaches' box he is blowing up about something. At least he no longer has his mate and team manager Pat Molihan sitting next to him, mimicking his actions - which was common place during last year's northern hemisphere tour.

After ESPN had a dig at him about that, at least Molihan is now on the sideline doing some actual work. But there seemed to be a serious sideline communication breakdown when Sekope Kepu on his way to the blood bin had to be replaced, and the inexperienced Jermaine Ainsley was exposed in his second scrum. The scrum disintegrated and New Zealand received another penalty. Kepu, who came back on, was later replaced by the more experienced Allan Alaalatoa. Bewildering stuff.

And then an indignant Wallabies captain Michael Hooper stamps his authority at the press conference by declaring they will bounce back in Auckland next Saturday because: "We've got a plan."

Let's hope this master plan includes knowing how to hold onto a football, how to win lineouts and scrums, how to produce a constructive backline move and how to actually perform like an international team.

Enough of this nonsense. For too long Rugby Australia, which kowtows to Cheika and Co, have treated Wallabies supporters as mugs. For a change, they must be courageous. Before it's too late, get a new Australian coaching panel.