Cooper to captain Jones' Barbarians

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Quade Cooper was a Wallabies regular just four months ago, but the mercurial flyhalf will be the Aussie's foe when the Barbarians roll into town.

Cooper has been announced as the captain of the Barbarians side, to be coached by Alan Jones, that will face the Wallabies in Sydney on October 28.

Jones tweeted the announcement on Wednesday, and spoke to Cooper on his Wednesday morning radio show, with just over three weeks to go until the Allianz Stadium clash.

The 29-year-old was a surprise omission in Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's initial Rugby Championship squad and the playmaker has not been able to work his way back into the Test reckoning.

Cooper has been a regular for Brisbane City in the NRC this season, with the one-time powerhouse provincial side sitting mid-table with four rounds to go.

His appointment may also suggest his Spring Tour chances may be slim, with the game just three days before the Wallabies depart for Japan. 

It seems unlikely he would go head-to-head with incumbent Test starter Bernard Foley, with that weekend the only break for the Wallabies ahead of a month-long Spring Tour.

Bernard Foley was man of the match. Photo: WalmsleyWith no other specialist 10s in the squad, Kurtley Beale and Reece Hodge would loom as potential contenders for that pivotal spot.

Cooper said he was looking forward to bringing his flair to the Babarians side.

"I’m going to be out there doing my best to attack from everywhere, attack well and really make it entertaining for yourself and the people watching," he said.

"There's a lot of emphasis these days on defence and that in turn slows the whole game down. Having focus on attack, you can break down defences, you can make it entertaining and it’s always fun to figure out ways to break down defence."

Jones has promised to add a strong contingent of Western Force players to the squad, though whether Perth players will be released for the Barbarians team given the Spirit's campaign for back-to-back NRC titles.

The former Test coach has promised some big names to come, but is keeping his players' identities under wraps, even as the match nears.

Australia takes on the Barbarians on Saturday October 28, kicking off at 3pm AEDT. Buy tickets here.