Quade Cooper bites back to suggestions Wallabies weren't trying against Scotland
It's fair to say Quade Cooper won't be picking up the phone to Wallaby fan Jack Quigley, whose viral message to the team now graces the walls at Ballymore as the team prepares to play Italy in Brisbane on Saturday.
While coach Michael Cheika has earned plaudits for calling the disgruntled supporter after his Facebook rant following the loss to Scotland, Cooper won't stand for suggestions the team wasn't trying against the tourists in Sydney.
Fighter Jeff Horn was on hand as the Wallabies trained on Tuesday morning and Cooper took the opportunity to land a few jabs on critics that have lambasted them since the 24-19 defeat on the weekend.
Cooper wasn't suggesting fans don't have the right to vent. He has been the subject of fierce, vitriolic and often cruel social media criticism over the years, some of which has been so personal it has left permanent scars.
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But he wasn't buying into the line that fans have a better idea of what should be done to steady the Wallaby ship than the players in the middle of it all. Cooper said they were grinding away as hard as possible to produce the goods in a code that has issues far beyond the quality of the national side.
"I'm not saying it's unfair (the criticism) but it's easy for people to sit behind a keyboard and throw barbs and tell you you're not doing your job. But when you come out here and see the hard work that goes in... nobody goes out there to lose," Cooper said.
"To see the passion from fans like that is great. Fans are hurting as well. Fans go through the tough times and the good times. But like I said, it's a different story when you sit behind a keyboard.
"The boys are working hard. The feeling is good, as it should be, because we're putting in the hard yards. It's disappointing to get the loss but that's part of professional sport. Someone wins, someone loses. We're working very hard to make sure we get the win."
The Quigley Letter has been a key talking point early in the week for the Wallabies but Cooper urged fans to try and ride out the bad in anticipation of the good. He said even in the case of Horn, should he upset Pacquiao, there would be the inevitable cries that he beat an old champion at the end of his run.
"If you imagine a fight like the one Jeff has ahead of him, it he were to lose and people throw barbs at him, that's very unfair after the hard work that goes into it. When he wins that fight, he'll be able to stand tall and stand proud and be a great inspiration for a lot of people," Cooper said.
"But still, people will sit back and say 'Manny was old'. But I've got no respect for that. But I have a lot of respect for people who stick with you throughout the ride, the ups and downs. And that's what true supporters are.
"It's a massive inspiration for us. He has a massive challenge ahead to fight Manny and we have some massive challenges ahead, starting with Italy and the All Blacks in a three-Test series for the Bledisloe Cup.
"We look at a guy like Jeff and everyone is calling him the underdog. But we're all supporting him and we know he can go out there and do the job."
- Sydney Morning Herald