Rebels won't be pursuing unwilling Cooper

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels hasn't spoken to Quade Cooper about joining the club, considering the playmaker still spoken for.

Wessels, speaking after Brad Thorn’s Wednesday statement that said the club wouldn’t stand in Cooper’s way should he want to move franchises, said he hadn’t had personal contact with Cooper.

The Rebels and Brumbies are both believed to have sounded Cooper out about a potential move, but the flyhalf has turned them down.

“Quade's a world-class player but I haven't spoken to him personally and the reason for that is because he's under contract to another team,” he said.

“I don't think that's appropriate.

“If he became available, he is a world-class player, so why wouldn't we look at someone like that?”

Wallabies attack coach Stephen Larkham said on Wednesday that Cooper could only be considered in the national frame if he played Super Rugby, an option that appears shut in Queensland.

Despite that, Cooper seems more committed than ever to staying in Brisbane, contracted to Queensland until the end of 2019.

Cooper posted an Instagram photo of himself playing for club, Souths, writing, ‘Mission impossible.. Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.. The more difficult it is to reach the destination, the more you will remember & appreciate the journey.”

While Quade Cooper’s future has been a focal point in the news cycle this week, Wessels’ more immediate concern is rectifying a mid-season slump against the Brumbies. 

The Rebels’ tales of two halves is a concern for Wessels, with the Rebels conceding 25 tries in second halves this season, 14 of those in the final 20 minutes, behind only the Sunwolves in that statistic.

Wessels said he felt small errors had been snowballing for his team late in matches.

“I definitely don't think it's fitness,” he said.

“In fact, if you look at some of our GPS data, we know we actually go better in some second halves than first half, even though the score moves away for us.

I think it's missing bits of cumulative detail.

“I think over a period of time, over 60 minutes, the work rate you have to put in because maybe you've given the ball away cheaply and then you end up defending for five minutes you shouldn't have defended for or whatever it is, that starts to add up and at the back end of the game, I wouldn't say from a fitness perspective, but I guess from an intensity perspective and ability to actually create pressure on the opposition, you lose those moments.”

The Rebels take on the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RADIO.