Wallabies to stick together: Cooper

The Rugby Championship
by AAP

The Wallabies will stick together as they fight to regain winning form and ease pressure on coach Michael Cheika, five-eighth Quade Cooper says.

Cheika has been under fire from critics who have slammed everything from his selections and game plan to his emotional demeanour after back to back Bledisloe Cup thrashings by New Zealand followed the 3-0 home series loss to England.

Cooper said on Thursday there was a desire within the Wallaby camp to do it for Cheika when they resume their Rugby Championship campaign on Saturday week against South Africa at Suncorp Stadium.

Quade Cooper in action in Wellington. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyBut the recalled playmaker also warned against the dangers of simply looking for a short-term release.

"Whenever there's pressure, it's on everyone," Cooper told AAP.

"We'll support each other as a team, whether you're a player, staff member or coach.

"But it's not just about a one-off win and sitting back and saying 'the pressure's off us'.

"We need to do that week in, week out and make sure we set a good example for ourselves."

Quade Cooper is optimistic about the Wallabies. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyCheika's job is not in danger but his reputation as a coach, having been crowned World Rugby coach of the year after the World Cup appearance last year, hinges on his ability to turn things around.

His team conceded 10 tries while scoring just one in the two clashes with the All Blacks and his post-match fury vented at the referee over his treatment of Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore further fuelled some critics.

The Wallabies will be favourites to beat the Springboks, who were poor in a 26-24 away defeat to Argentina last weekend.

But Cooper said Australia must be prepared for a strong response from a Springboks team who, much like Australia, are under intense scrutiny back home.

"We're not banking on them coming off the back of a bad performance and them getting worse," he said.

Quade Cooper has confidence in his new partnership with Bernard Foley. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyCooper made his return to international rugby after a year-long absence in the second Bledisloe game in Wellington as part of a new-look playmaking axis with Bernard Foley, who moved to inside centre.

The Wallabies barely had enough of the ball to test their combination but Cheika has already indicated his intention to stick with it.

"I think it worked quite well," Cooper said.

"It was quite a physical game, a lot of set piece issues and stuff like that but I found our combination was fine.

"With anything, if you have the support of your peers and your coaches, that's the most important thing. We'll continue to work at it."

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