Michael Cheika speaks with viral fan

By , Vince Rugari is a Roar Guru

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    Michael Cheika has reached out to the rugby supporter whose social media critique after their loss to Scotland went viral.

    The Wallabies coach described Jack Quigley’s appraisal as “pretty confronting” for players and admitted he shared the same emotions.

    Cheika had a long phone conversation with Quigley on Monday after the fan’s Facebook post, in which he labelled the Wallabies a “disgrace”, attracted more than 40,000 likes and almost 5000 shares.

    “I spoke to the gentleman and gave him a ring, because why not?” Cheika told reporters on Monday.

    “I think that’s important, that you talk to the fans.

    “When we come out to pressers and say we want to make the fans proud it’s not lip service, we do.

    “We’re not perfect at it sometimes.”

    While he disagreed with some of the detail, particularly accusations that the players lacked passion for the jersey, Cheika said it had clearly struck a chord.

    Cheika has stuck the post on the walls at Ballymore, where Australia are training ahead of Saturday’s Test against Italy at Suncorp Stadium, for players to digest themselves.

    “I think that he expressed how he was feeling after the (Scotland) game and I don’t think it’s too far away from what some of us were feeling as well,” Cheika said.

    “(It) was pretty confronting for a few of the guys, if they hadn’t seen it, because it was pretty heavy in some ways.”

    Quigley concluded his post by asking for a 15-minute window to personally address the team this week but it’s believed he withdrew this request after speaking with Cheika.

    It’s not the first time Cheika has gone on the front foot to deal with angry supporters.

    He said he hit the phones in the same way as Waratahs coach when he received “death threats” after a poor run in 2013.

    While Cheika said earlier this year he was confident the struggles of Australian Super Rugby teams wouldn’t affect the Wallabies, he conceded some players were dealing with a “lack of belief” as a result.

    “This is a new team, they’ve all come from different environments, a lot of new players together and it’s been tough in the environments they’ve been in,” he said.

    But Cheika said there was no doubt the players were trying their hardest.

    “I think we weren’t good enough. I believe we cared, totally,” he said.

    “With emotion, those things get said all the time.

    “But there’s no doubt that the team cared.”

    © AAP 2017

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