Cooper a better player: Mitchell

The Rugby Championship
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Quade Cooper has returned from France a better player, according to Wallabies teammate Drew Mitchell.

Cooper has spent the last 12 months playing with Toulon and the Australian Sevens squad in what was a difficult year for the enigmatic playmaker.

Speaking on FOX SPORTS’ Rugby 360, Mitchell said Cooper had  learnt a lot from his overseas stint, despite limited game time with Toulon.

“He’s certainly grown as a player and as a person as well and so what he is bringing back now is a great deal of experience but also a really level head and an approach to a game that perhaps some other people don’t have,” he said.

Quade Cooper has returned to Australia after a 12 month stint in France. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley

Cooper has slotted straight into Michael Cheika’s Wallabies squad after agreeing to return to Australian Rugby for the next three years, with his Super Rugby future yet to be confirmed.

Mitchell said a slow start from Cooper saw him pigeon-holed in France, limited to playing mainly at fullback.

“Tto put it bluntly I don’t think we used him very well at all at Toulon,” Mitchell said.

“I think for the most part, when you go overseas, you’ve got to play well really early otherwise they form an opinion and it’s very hard to change that.”

Cooper’s improvement has been noticed by Cheika, with the potential for the mercurial playmaker to fill the X-Factor role that Kurtley Beale has left open.

"He's definitely got X Factor, there's no doubt about that," Cheika said.

"There's areas of his game he's really been working hard to improve on and really, really pleased with him since he's returned into training.” 

Catch Rugby 360 weekly on Wednesday nights from 8pm AEST LIVE on FOXSPORTS 2 502.