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Quade Cooper set to make remarkable return to Wallabies side

Thu, 09/09/2021, 8:00 pm
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies prop Greg Holmes and backrower Pete Samu have spoken to media this afternoon from the Gold Coast.

The wait is reportedly over - Quade Cooper is set to make his return to the Wallabies step up on Sunday against the Springboks.

The Wallabies will name their squad on Friday with Cooper set to be named at flyhalf for Sunday’s clash at CBUS Super Stadium.

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Cooper last pulled on the jersey in 2017, coming off the bench during the Wallabies 40-27 win over Italy in Brisbane.

The 33-year-old was initial brought into the squad as injury cover, with travel restrictions limiting replacements with James O’Connor still recovering from a groin injury.

Speaking to media last week, Cooper admitted he had little expectation about whether he would play or not, looking to soak up vital knowledge before heading back to Japan.

“That hasn’t been a focus for me. I haven’t come in thinking ‘I just have to play a Test’ for me coming in here is been about learning,” he said.

“The things I’ve been able to learn and whether I go back to Japan after this game, the Rugby Championship I’m not 100% sure but I’ll have a wealth of knowledge footballing in terms of what I’ve been able to learn and gain about myself being back in this environment.

“The level of skill, training that we’ve been at, I haven’t had that for four years since I was last in a Wallabies squad.

“It hasn’t been a focus of mine to come in just play games. If I can grow as a man, grow as a rugby player and take that back to Japan and pass that onto other people, that’s a great reward for myself.

“That’s where my focus is at, anything else is bonuses along the way on this journey.”

Former Wallaby Lote Tuqiri backed calls for Cooper to start, believing it will assist in the development of Noah Lolesio following a tough series against the All Blacks.

“I’ve always liked Quade Cooper,” the former winger said on Thursday.

“He’s in the squad, he’s been in and around that time for a while … I’m not saying Noah Lolesio is not the option, (but) Noah probably needs a bit of a rest at the moment.

“He’s only a young guy. Feeling that constant pressure each week can get a bit tough. He’s only young in his Wallabies career, so give him a week or two off and let Quade take some of these games.

“He can help take the pressure off (Lolesio) and then Noah can come take over probably for the last couple of games – that’s what I’d do.”

READ MORE:

RETURN: Springboks name side for Wallabies clash

HONOUR: Rennie set to coach Barbarians

RWC27: Tuqiri backs 'Pacific' bid

The Wallabies are set to play a near full-strength Springboks side, headlined by the return of Faf De Klerk and Duane Vermeulen.

Coach Jacques Nienaber has made seven changes to his starting line-up, with Cheslin Kolbe set to miss the clash with a leg injury suffered in training.

The match will be the second of a double-header at the Gold Coast, with the All Blacks kicking off proceedings against Argentina

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