Cooper, Heenan reflect on opener

NRC
by Sam Phillips

Brisbane City's season opening win pretty much went as scripted, according to coach Mick Heenan and star flyhalf Quade Cooper.

City opened up a 40-12 lead before the Fijians gave them a late scare and that, according to Heenan, was simply due to some carelessness with ball in hand.

"It pretty much went to script, didn't it," Heenan said.

"When we were patient with the ball and controlled it well, we got rewarded.

"When we got a bit loose and made some mistakes, Fiji capitalised on it.

"It's hard to know what to take out of it, being the first game, but we have that one under the belt now so that's definitely a positive."Cooper was one of City's best this afternoon. Photo: Getty ImagesSet piece was an area where City thrived and that was always part of the plan.

"You obviously want to put the opposition in positions they don't want to be in and that made the maul a big part of our game plan," Heenan said.

"It took us a bit longer to get on top in the scrum but we got there."

Cooper's first start since the end of the Super Rugby season was one of his best this year.

It was an understated performance that Heenan was particularly complimentary of, as he controlled the pace of the game and how much loose ball Fiji were able to work with.

Cooper was just happy to put a win on the board, preferring to focus on that rather than the final 20 minutes, in which Fiji were able to score four tries.


"In the last 20 the score blew out a little bit but we achieved everything we wanted to achieve in terms of how we wanted to play the first half," Cooper said.

"We wanted to tire them out at the set piece and then we wanted to spread the ball and get something out of it, in terms of building combinations and getting used to playing with each other.

"Everything went to plan and then the last 20 minutes, that's where we are at as a team.

"We have only spent two or three weeks together as a squad for the full week and we sort of just clocked off a bit.

"We need to get better at putting our foots on their throat, so to speak, in terms of closing the game right out.

"The first goal was to get the win and if you to continue to win you are in the right spot at the end of the year, not relying on bonus points or that sort of stuff."

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