Cooper pragmatic about bad Tour luck

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A training mishap cost Quade Cooper his first starting chance on the Wallabies Spring Tour but the flyhalf is happy to bide his time for the team.

Cooper has played just three minutes on tour and a poorly-timed ankle strain ruled him out of his first starting chance against France last weekend but the playmaker is pragmatic about the situation.

“By the game on Saturday I was walking freely, I had a trot around, it was just a few days too early, too much swelling in my foot,” Cooper said.

“Having to run, kick, I didn’t want to be out there and disturb the team without being able to train all week and also I knew I wouldn’t be able to play to the ability of representing the Wallabies.

“This week it’s feeling a lot better, I’m feeling very confident again.”

Coming in and out of the Wallabies team is not unfamiliar for Cooper, who has been involved in a battle with Bernard Foley for the starting No.10 spot in recent years and he said he would maintain his patience.

“It’s frustrating but at the end of the day that’s part of footy, you’ve got to take your opportunities when they come.” - Quade Cooper

“I had one there that didn’t turn out so I’ll just wait for my next opportunity and be patient.

“With football it’s a matter of being patient and when I get the opportunity it will be the right one. On the weekend it just wasn’t my time.

“But we got the win, that’s the main thing that matters moving forward in this tour.”

While Australia has its full complement of playmakers to call on against Ireland, their opponents have lost first choice flyhalf Jonny Sexton to a hamstring injury and Cooper said it was a major blow for their opponents.

“I don’t think it’s a massive loss in terms of their playing ability and playing style but I think in terms of their mental confidence, he’s a massive talisman for Irish Rugby,” he said.

“I’m sure he gives a lot of the players around him a lot of of confidence and their team a lot of confidence, he’s been playing some good football and led them to their victory over New Zealand (in Chicago).

“I’m sure that they would have wanted to have him in there – it’s unfortunate he’s not there but I’m sure they’ve got great backups.

“They won’t lose too much in terms of their style of play because they’ve got a great team, coached very well.

“It’s going to be a massive task for us.”

While the Irish attack will be a danger for the Wallabies, it’s the set piece that has caused a major reshuffle, with Dean Mumm returning to blindside flanker for the match, shifting Lopeti Timani to the bench.

Mumm was suspended for the opening Test against Wales, before coming off the bench against Scotland and France, but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted for a return to his Rugby Championship backrow in Dublin.

“Given the competition for spots in the backrow, and the form of people like Scott Fardy and Lopeti Timani, it’s a tremendously competitive spot so I feel very honoured to get there and it’s certainly up to me to make the most of that."

Cheika said it wasn’t just the lineout that saw Mumm elevated, but he would add an extra option there in Dublin.

“They've got a threat there, but also Dean does a lot of other work around the field that probably isn't noticed - but we notice it, around some of the areas we think are strengths of Ireland's." - Michael Cheika

“He's got a big workrate and we understand for a team that's in good form like they are, we're going to have to work really hard.

“There was a few reasons why I brought him - obviously lineout is probably the major one but there's a few other reasons there that we feel he'll add to the team.”

Ireland has played two Tests against the All Blacks in the past three weeks, including an historic 40-29 win in Chicago.

Australia takes on Ireland at 4:30am Sunday AEDT, LIVE on SBS and beIN Sport (Foxtel Channel 515).