Disappointed, apparently sickened and “hurt” by the standard of the Wallabies’ performance in their 19-24 loss to Scotland in Sydney on Saturday, Australian rugby fan Jack Quigley authored a passionate but cutting letter on the side’s official Facebook page.
Quigley attacked those involved with the squad for not giving it their all and he urged those in charge of running the page to pass the letter on to Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika, of whom he had one request.
“Give me 15 minutes,” wrote Quigley. “That’s all I want. To look these guys in the eye and tell them WHAT IT MEANS to be a rugby fan in this country. Because they don’t know. They’re not fans. They’re players and coaches. That’s different. They don’t know.”
At the time of writing, Quigley’s post had over 48 thousand likes and more than 5 thousand shares on Facebook.
Jack’s request probably won’t be granted, but his comments were not ignored by Cheika.
On Monday, speaking from the centre of a media scrum, Cheika claimed that he had personally made a phone call to Quigley to discuss his grievances with the players and coaching staff.
“I spoke to the gentleman and gave him a ring because…why not?” said Cheika. “I think that’s important that you talk to the fans. When we say come out to pressers and say ‘we want to make the fans proud’, it’s not lip service, we do. We are not perfect at it sometimes.
“I think he expressed how he was feeling after the game and I don’t how it would be too far away from how some of us were feeling as well.
“I just spoke to him about some of the things that we’re feeling and what we want to do and what some of the things are in the background because we’re feeling the same thing as the fans, too.”
Cheika also revealed that he put Quigley’s post up on the wall for all of the players to see.
The former Leinster head coach did not, however, go into much specific detail regarding his conversation with Quigley. The fan later revealed some of those details himself, though.
“My phone rung and it was Cheik and he said: ‘look, the letter was addressed to me and I wanted to be the first one to ring you,'” Quigley revealed to Fox Sports Australia.
“We spent a good half-hour on the phone,” he added. “It was pretty honest and heart-to-heart. He didn’t dodge any blame.”
“I stuck to my guns and asked him a few hard questions, but he held his hand up and was really good about it and he actually encouraged me to save his number and call him back if things don’t improve, which was very good of him.”
During his conversation with the press, Cheika suggested that isn’t much different than the average fan at heart and he conveyed this message to Quigley as well, making sure to drop in a little allusion to the viral Facebook post.
“He texted me after our conversation and in my response I just wrote to him ‘wishing him the best,'” Quigley told Fox. “And he wrote back and said: ‘Mate, I’m the same as you, I’m just a pleb. I just happen to coach the team.'”
“It was sort of a nice reference to the piece (where Quigley described himself as a pleb and a nobody). It sounded like he genuinely read it a few times through and he connected to a lot of parts of what I was angry about.”
Quigley, who described the whole situation as “surreal”, added that Cheika’s gesture might serve to “restore faith” in the Australian set-up among fans left disillusioned by the disappointing defeat to Gregor Townsend’s surging Scotland.
Cheika’s men will hope to further restore that faith with a strong display against Italy at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.
You can read Quigley’s entire Facebook post here…