Cheika coached the Wallabies from 2014 to 2019 and was appointed as head coach of Lebanon’s rugby league team for a brief stint earlier this year.

There were also reports that Cheika is in contention to become the new head coach of French super club Montpellier. But on Thursday, the Green Rockets confirmed their acquisition of the 54-year-old.

‘I am very excited to be joining NEC in this new role,’ Cheika said on his appointment.

‘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.’

NEC finished bottom of their conference with seven defeats from seven games in this season’s Top League, which holds its final this weekend.

Cheika’s old adversary and former All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen is director of rugby at Toyota Verblitz in Japan, while England head coach Eddie Jones is a consultant at Suntory Sungoliath.

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