Back in Wallabies frame but Cooper not looking an inch past Rebels duty

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Rebels flyhalf Quade Cooper isn't out to change anyone's perceptions in his first Super Rugby season in Melbourne, no matter what that means for his World Cup chances.

Cooper hasn’t been part of a Wallabies squad since the 2017 June Series, with a season in club rugby last year after Reds coach Brad Thorn told him he wasn’t required at the Reds.

Despite his long-time absence, Cooper was among the players invited to January’s national camp, spending a day with the Wallabies group.

Cooper said he wasn’t reading too much into the selection and the flyhalf had little  contact with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika during the camp.

”I wasn't really surprised as such, in terms of, I'm one of their employees so I assumed that...I'd be a part of that in some way shape or form,” he said.

“So, I don't look into it too much, spending a day in camp seeing the boys it was great, being around a lot of the lads but in terms of looking into the future the only thing that is set in stone is playing here in Melbourne.”

Rather than a sense of having any kind of point to prove after a year out of Super Rugby, Cooper seems content to accept whatever 2019 unfolds, whether that means a World Cup berth or not.

“To be honest, I don't see that, myself, being here to make the World Cup squad,” he said.

“What I do is play rugby, what I'm paid to do is play rugby so I was just happy to be able to play rugby, I was playing rugby last year and I intended on doing the same thing this year.

“It's just a different jersey that I'm wearing, different opportunity and I'm not looking too far past doing the best I can here for Melbourne.

“If I do well, then things might open up but it's not about focusing on the outcome.

“Those decisions are out of my hands and they have been for my whole career so I don't intend on changing them or magically changing someone's mind on who they choose or anything like that.”

Cooper has been praised as a leader already in his short time at the Rebels and the playmaker said he was having a kind of regeneration of his own in Melbourne.

“For me, it’s being able to experience something different,” he said.

“Some behaviours of certain people and things like that that you think are normal, when you come into a different organisation and a different city, you realise that was just what I became accustomed to or used to.

“Its like if you went to one school for your whole life and you change, meet new people, different behaviours, things like that, different ways of doing things that you're not accustomed to.”

Cooper has played one trial with the Rebels, facing off against the Reds last weekend, and is likely to reunite with long-time Queensland halves partner Will Genia when Melbourne take on the Brumbies in round one.

The Rebels face the Brumbies at GIO Stadium on Friday february 15, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RADIO.