RugbyU: Cheika calls Wallabies fan over Facebook rant
Australia rugby coach Michael Cheika made a surprise call to an irate fan whose long rant about the misfiring team went viral on Facebook.
Jack Quigley referred to himself as "a nobody" in his 800-word piece, which he posted after Australia's 24-19 defeat to Scotland on Saturday, but said he had one thing the team lacked: passion.
"Passion for the game of rugby. And for the Wallabies. And you can't deny me that, despite your best efforts," the amateur rugby player and coach wrote, in comments that were widely liked and shared.
"When I was a kid -- hell, even now, I would've given my left nut just to pull on a Wallabies jumper, but when I see you guys run out, I feel like you don't care."
Cheika said Quigley's comments struck a chord, and he has reportedly pinned the rant on the dressing room wall in Brisbane where his team will try to make amends this Saturday against Italy.
"I spoke to the gentleman and gave him a ring, because why not?" Cheika told reporters, after Quigley said he was willing to head to Brisbane and address the squad.
"I think that's important, that you talk to the fans. When we come out to press conferences and say we want to make the fans proud, it's not lip service. We do. We're not perfect at it sometimes."
He added: "I think that he expressed how he was feeling after the Scotland game and I don't think it's too far away from how we were feeling as well."
But Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper took a different stance to Cheika when he hit out at "keyboard warriors".
"I'm not saying it (criticism) is unfair... and to see passion from fans is great," Cooper said, according to the Brisbane Courier Mail.
"But it's easy for people to sit behind a keyboard and throw barbs and tell you that you're not doing your job.
"You see it across all walks of life when people are giving everything and I've no respect for it."
Australia gave away two soft tries and trailed for nearly the whole game against Scotland, who registered their first win against the Wallabies in five years.
The loss will push Australia to sixth in the next edition of the world rankings -- behind Ireland, Scotland and South Africa -- their lowest position since early 2015.
It comes on the heels of a demoralising Super Rugby season for Australian teams, who haven't won a single game against New Zealand opposition this year.
© 2017 AFP