Former Australia coach Michael Cheika has been appointed director of rugby at Japan’s Green Rockets.
Cheika, who had coaching spells with Leinster Rugby, Stade Francais and the NSW Waratahs, took charge of the Wallabies in 2014 before stepping down in 2019 after their quarter-final exit at the World Cup.
He took a consultancy role with Argentina in September and helped guide Mario Ledesma’s side to their breakthrough 25-15 win over the All Blacks in the Tri-Nations last year.
“I’m very excited to be joining NEC in this new role,” Cheika, 54, said in a statement.
“Together with the company, the coaches and the players we will aspire to bring back the DNA of the NEC Green Rockets to bring pride and enjoyment to the whole NEC community.
“I look forward to working hard together with everyone to orchestrate a brighter world for NEC rugby and rugby in Japan.”
The franchise finished bottom of the White Conference after losing all seven of their first-stage Top League games this season.
They beat second-division side Toyota Industries Shuttles in the playoff first round before losing to Suntory Sungoliath, who face Panasonic Wild Knights in Sunday’s final.