Michael Cheika speaks with viral fan

By Vince Rugari, Vince Rugari is a Roar Guru


23 Have your say

    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 2018

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • June 19th 2017 @ 3:47pm
      EeeDubya said | June 19th 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

      No good commenting. Nothing seems to change but anyway….. It goes deeper than poor old Chek. The arrogance of that Australian team to knock back easy points with plenty of time left highlights their attitude. They didn’t respect Scotland. They’ll come out this weekend and beat Italy by 30 and celebrate like they’ve won the Bledisloe cup. We seem to be going backwards. Never thought I’d say this about the game I love but the rules are confusing, time wasting at scrums and lineouts is appaling, the refs questionable and it rewards cheating. Over it. Afl and soccer for me.

      • Columnist

        June 19th 2017 @ 4:01pm
        Geoff Parkes said | June 19th 2017 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

        I’m calling b/s on your final comments ED.

        Anyone who loves the game knows that there are far fewer scrums now with far fewer resets, and the ball is in play for far longer than it ever was. Every sport – including those you quote – is filled with argument and controversy about refereeing/umpiring. As for cheating? Every week, every match, AFL and soccer players stage for free kicks. Ever seen that?

        What you’re really over is your team losing. That’s when teams need their real supporters more than ever, not just to jump on the bandwagon when they win.

    • Roar Rookie

      June 19th 2017 @ 5:22pm
      piru said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

      Respect for Cheika has gone up ten fold with this story.

      Here’s hoping the players take notice of this post

      • June 19th 2017 @ 5:35pm
        Fionn said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

        I met Cheika briefly after the Brumbies vs Reds match in Canberra this year. I bumped into him while he was trying to keep a low profile, but despite this he was infinitely kind and polite to both myself and to the kids who were sad not to meet the players after the match.

        He seems to love the Wallabies and is a super nice bloke – I just don’t know if the wallabies can improve under him.

        • June 19th 2017 @ 7:43pm
          Boomeranga said | June 19th 2017 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

          Personally I think he is, but he needs some bigger brains to sit in the room with him, and / or he needs to know when to listen to them. At the moment we seem, relative to our opponents, to be pretty, simple and naive.

    • June 19th 2017 @ 5:38pm
      CME said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

      Too right. The sport is now largely the province of entitled private school kids at all levels. Passion in the jumper has apparently dissipated over time since the advent of professionalism, and the entertainment quality just ain’t stacking up with rival competitions.

      • June 21st 2017 @ 10:20am
        Shaun said | June 21st 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        Same can be said for English rugby regarding the private school comment, but they are in some of their best form since professionalism, and with their Under 20 side making the final the last 6 years in a row, they look good.
        Australias rugby problems run deeper i think.

        • June 21st 2017 @ 10:23am
          Fionn said | June 21st 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          Well what do you think the problem is?

    • June 19th 2017 @ 5:44pm
      Sinclair Whitbourne said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

      Like Jack Quigley I have never felt so depressed and alienated and I can recall bad times under Greg Smith and the last part of Eddie Jones’ tenure. The players are a part of the problem but I think the malaise is far deeper and the solutions will need the kind of deep changes that I just don’t think rugby in this country is capable of. I hope I am wrong.

      There needs to be a clean out at the ARU board level. The game has been mismanaged for a long time now, although I think Oz rugby faces very great challenges in a market like ours and with a limited player base. As with other areas, I would look to bring in people who represent the benchmark we aspire to – AFL is a very smartly managed operation and it has managed expansion better than any other code (though not without some failures). There may be useful things, capable people to look at there. There also need to be people steeped in the traditions and culture of our game because that is at the heart of what people love about rugby.

      Coaching at all levels needs a massive focus. Again, build on what’s already here but look to bring in people with the right background from NZ (especially) but also potentially other countries. Mario Lodesma was a really good step and getting Byrne back was the same. I do think that in this country there can be a tendency to view set piece as just a means to an end, a frustrating adjunct to the game. In the north they probably go too far the other way. Cultural change to recognise the critical nature of set piece as the basis for the flashy stuff needs to happen. The great periods of Oz rugby had that under Allan Jones, Bob Dwyer and McQueen.

      Across the board we have a pretty useful stock of players. I don’t think they are anywhere near as fit as their rivals from the UK, NZ and now (the horror of it) SA. Passing and kicking skills are not up to the standard of the best. Too many promising players are arriving at Super level with surprisingly poor passing skills, for example. These things should be relatively easy to fix. Decision making and game sense are haphazard. This is tougher to improve because it is really built up over years of playing the game.

      I am increasingly of the view that change needs to include the national coach and his assistants. This is hard for me because Larkham was one of the most gifted players I have seen and a wonderful competitor. Nathan Grey was a fine player and, again, a great competitor. I don’t think either have really shown what it takes to do well at this level. That should not rule out them coming back later. Grey seems to be in denial about the defensive systems he uses and Larkham, whilst the Brumbies have continued to do well in a very weak Oz conference, has really not added to what Jake White built. The attack coach has also presided over an attack that Culley analysed well today.

      Cheika deserves credit for a fine 2015 RWC and a Bledisloe win. His employment of an Argentine to finally deal with a 10 year running sore at the scrum should also be acknowledged. But there have been really strange selection decisions throughout his tenure and he also seems unable to recognise things are not working/no longer working but once did and never worked and never will. Unless there are changes and improvements at the end of the year replacements should be sought.

      I am a Qld supporter but I saw what Jake White did at a Brumbies unit that had become culturally dysfunctional, that was full of underperforming players and had lost its way. At its worst Jake ball is unattractive but this was also the man who found Jesse Mogg and a host of other players and who mostly oversaw a team that played a pretty exciting brand of rugby. Someone like him would be ideal to rebuild and set standards for players. I hope that this doesn’t cause Spiro Zavos to choke on his weeties – not many areas that I depart from his views but Jake White is one.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 7:56pm
        Fionn said | June 19th 2017 @ 7:56pm | ! Report

        Have never seen a post that I am in so much agreement with.

        100% correct (except for being a Reds fan – c’mon mate, Brumbies 😉 ).

        Thanks for your great comment. Having it articulated so well helps numb the pain.

      • June 19th 2017 @ 8:21pm
        soapit said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:21pm | ! Report

        i think quigley would agree with me in thinking that the players need to take a bit of ownership about how poor they are. they need to be practicing at their individual deficiencies in their own time.

        bringing back the feel good self love factor within the camp through player power has seen us decline pretty rapidly.

        • June 21st 2017 @ 11:33am
          Shaun said | June 21st 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

          The kicking one is the perfect example! How can a professional kicker be so bad??? It literally 100% comes down to practice. Look at Beauden Barretts kicking percentage over the past couple of years.

          • Roar Guru

            June 21st 2017 @ 11:38am
            Train Without A Station said | June 21st 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

            It doesn’t literally come down to practice.

            Like any skill, some players are just naturally better than others.

            Practice can help you maximize your potential. But you will always be limited to your potential.

      • June 20th 2017 @ 12:36am
        Mark said | June 20th 2017 @ 12:36am | ! Report

        If anyone on here seriously thinks that Larkham will not be the next head coach of the Wallabies you are delusional.

        This backroom deal has been done already, the only question is whether it is pre or post 2019.

    • Roar Guru

      June 19th 2017 @ 5:56pm
      taylorman said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

      Nice, enjoyed that.

    • June 19th 2017 @ 6:33pm
      Jacko said | June 19th 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

      Why did he only speak to 1 of the 50,000 brassed off fans?

      • Roar Rookie

        June 19th 2017 @ 6:45pm
        piru said | June 19th 2017 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

        Because Facebook or something

      • June 19th 2017 @ 8:18pm
        soapit said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

        because that fan got 40k likes and therefore could be seen as some kind of representative.