A number of Australia players, past and present, have paid thanks to outgoing Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika on social media.
Cheika stepped down as Australia coach following Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to England.
The 52-year-old had been in charge since 2014, winning the Rugby Championship the following year and also leading Australia to the 2015 World Cup final, where they lost to New Zealand.
Cheika has been heavy criticised for what many have considered an underwhelming reign in charge, with Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle publicly admitting that “I don’t think anyone would think that we have been satisfied with the results.”
Former Leinster boss Cheika has earlier stated that he had “pretty much no relationship” with either the chairman or CEO of the ARU.
Yet as the ugly fall-out rumbles on, some of Cheika’s former players have come out in support of the controversial Australian.
Samu Keveri, who made his debut under Cheika in June 2016, took to Instragram to thank Cheika for “believing in me, when I didn’t have belief in myself.”
View this post on Instagram
A lot has been said already, But I just wanted to thank this man for giving me the opportunity to represent Australia. Thank you for believing in me, when I didn’t have belief in myself ?? The coach who opened my mind & heart to ‘WHY’ I play the sport, I will be forever grateful! Vinaka Cheik ??
Matt Toomua, who replaced stating fly-half Christian Leali’ifano after 53 minutes against England, Tweeted for the first time since January to thank Cheika.
“I didn’t always agree with you but I ALWAYS respected you, and never doubted your commitment to improving Rugby Australia,” Toomua said.
Meanwhile Matt Giteau, who retired from international rugby in 2018, also took to Twitter to thank “A man that took a gamble on me.”
I don’t use Twitter much, but I wanted to say thanks to a man who is copping some heat
You made me a better player and person. I didn’t always agree with you but I ALWAYS respected you, and never doubted your commitment to improving Rugby Australia#ThanksCheik
Just want to thank a man that took a gamble on me, changed the rules amd brought me back from France to play at another World Cup and the opportunity to earn 100 test caps. Forever grateful ?? @wallabies ??
Thanks Cheik #ThanksCheik
— Matt Giteau ?? (@giteau_rugby) October 20, 2019
WATCH: Cheika’s legacy ‘incredibly disappointing’
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