Rugby Championship: Michael Cheika joins Mario Ledesma's Pumas staff

Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has joined Argentina's staff for the upcoming Rugby Championship, which will be played in Australia from Nov. 7 to Dec. 12.

The Argentine Rugby Union made the announcement on Thursday, confirming Cheika would join coach Mario Ledesma's staff as an "external advisor".

It is a reverse of the situation that saw Ledesma serve as Cheika's assistant coach at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and through to the end of 2017, when he then stepped down to take on the Pumas job as the replacement for Daniel Hourcade.

With the Pumas to be based in New South Wales, Australia, for close to two months, Cheika will have the opportunity to work with the squad for the duration of the tournament.

"With Michael (Cheika) we started talking at the beginning of the year. I proposed to him the idea of working together again and he was immediately interested. We agreed from the first moment. I noticed [he was] very excited. He always liked Argentine rugby a lot," Ledesma said.

"He is a person who can bring us a lot of experience both to the group of players and to the staff. As was the incorporation of Tano (Marcelo Loffreda), in the first days of August. Undoubtedly, it is an excellent opportunity to continue learning because he is a person who thinks a lot about things outside the box who has an innovative and super creative vision, different from that of many coaches that I could cross.

"In addition, when the Championship was confirmed in Australia, we were able to dialogue and listen to their recommendations about places to train, schedules and even issues related to the weather. For his part, we have already been conducting several talks with him and the entire staff, about issues of the game, defense, attack, types of exercises, individual techniques and others. So that exchange was spectacular."

Cheika stepped down from the Wallabies post the day after the team's exit from last year's Rugby World Cup, when they were thrashed 40-17 by England in the quarterfinals.

It brought to an end what was, at times, a turbulent reign with numerous grievances later aired in the fallout, including those made by Wallabies selector Michael O'Connor earlier this year.

Cheika has been working as a consultant for NRL club Sydney Roosters this season.

It comes as little surprise that he has linked up with Argentina for the Rugby Championship given his relationship with Ledesma, while the Australian was also linked to the Pumas top job during his struggles with the Wallabies.

The Wallabies face the Pumas in Rounds 3 and 4 of the Rugby Championship, at Sydney's ANZ Stadium and then in Newcastle respectively.

SANZAAR remains confident the tournament will proceed despite New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson saying the All Blacks "hadn't agreed" to the six-week schedule released on Thursday.