Cooper cool, calm and collected ahead of City return

by Sam Phillips

Quade Cooper is hoping to turn Brisbane City gold into Wallaby gold, ahead of his return to the NRC on Saturday.

Cooper will start at flyhalf in City's NRC opener against the Fijian Drua, a match that will be watched keenly by most, for a few different reasons.

While Fiji's first NRC start adds plenty of intrigue, most eyes will be on Cooper, who was left out of Michael Cheika's squad for The Rugby Championship.

Most would have taken that as a serious hit but Cooper oozed positivity this morning, looking at the omission as an opportunity to improve his fitness and form, which waned in the back half of the Super Rugby season.

"Everybody in the country wants to be playing for Australia and represent your country," Cooper said.Cooper fronted the media this morning. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel"Some have the opportunity to do at it the moment, some have had the opportunity to do it in the past and are striving to get back in there and get an opportunity.

"I'm very much looking forward to getting out here and playing."

Cooper is not alone in using the NRC as a vehicle back into the Wallabies fold.

Kane Douglas, Adam Korczyk and Samu Kerevi will line up alongside him on the weekend and the mercurial playmaker said the quartet are loving the opportunity to guide club players getting their first crack on the big stage.

"I view club football and the NRC as a place to have fun but a place to get back to rugby as well," Cooper said.

"A lot of guys playing in there, this is the biggest thing they have been a part of.

"So to be able to go back and be part of the NRC, play with guys from the club ranks, that's something I look forward to and that I'm excited about."Cooper has fallen out of Michael Cheika's Wallabies calculations. Photo: WalmsleyWhile Cooper has no gripes with being left out of the national squad, it's clear the fire to get back in the mix still burns strong.

"I understand the way that rugby goes, the way they pick teams," he said.

"In terms of it being a shot to my confidence, not at all.

"I look at it as a way to train and continue to get strong and healthy

"When I was told I wasn't in the squad in my head, the pathway to get back in there was here, in NRC.

"For me it's about continuing to get better and if those things come, then great, I'll just be like any other Australian rugby player.Cooper will look to trade City gold for Wallaby gold this year. Photo: Getty Images"Of course, I will be here working as hard as possible and the fire is there.

"The next thing for me is to get in the gym, get down here and do as much work as I can, so I can play good football and get back to the position that I was in a few years ago."

City haven't watched any vision of the Fijians but Cooper said his side had to be cautious of getting too caught up in the flair on Saturday when facing a Fijian outfit well equipped to burn opposition that intend to fight fire with fire.

"It's very hard to match flair with a Fijian team," Cooper said.

"We will go about our business in terms of putting on a good show - a good spectacle - but by no means do we feel like we are going to go out there and be the Harlem Globetrotters against the original Harlem Globetrotters of rugby.

"I'm definitely going to go out there and look to entertain but the thing that is at the forefront of our mind is winning the game."

Brisbane City take on the Fiian Drua at Ballymore on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and on the FOX SPORTS app.