Cooper happy to help Wallabies despite citizenship snub
Fly half Quade Cooper is happy to be back helping the Wallabies prepare for a tough series against the All Blacks, even after being snubbed for Australian citizenship. The New Zealand-born 33-year-old, capped 70 times for Australia, earned a surprise recall to the Wallabies squad on Sunday for the first time in four years, less than two weeks after bemoaning another rejected citizenship application.
He will head to New Zealand with the squad this week to prepare for the Bledisloe Cup opener against the All Blacks at Eden Park, 10 years after suffering a horror ending to the 2011 World Cup at the venue. He said he was looking forward to working with young flyhalf Noah Lolesio, who played a key role in the recent 2-1 home series win over France, slotting late penalties to clinch victories in the first test and decider at Lang Park. “I probably didn’t ever expect to be in this position so I’m very grateful for the opportunity and to be back in this environment,” Cooper told reporters on Monday.
“I’m just excited at the possibility of being able to provide however I can, whether that’s offering some support to a young guy like Noah, an exciting player, or just being around and being able to provide an extra voice. “In terms of the citizenship stuff, that’s something I’m sure will get worked out in its own time.” Cooper played his last test in 2017 and missed out on selection for a third World Cup in Japan in 2019, though he has since been playing in the east Asian nation’s top flight.
Cooper has unpleasant memories of Eden Park, having been jeered relentlessly by the crowd when the All Blacks beat Australia in the 2011 World Cup semi-finals. He then suffered a serious knee injury in the third place playoff win against Wales and never regained the speed that had once cut defences to shreds.
Having not played competitively in some seven weeks, Cooper said he had no expectations of reigniting his Wallabies career. But he was glad to have the chance. “Even myself at 33, I’m here trying to learn, trying to soak up as much information as I can,” he said. “When you’re inside this environment then you have a case to push, you can earn a spot each day by how you turn up to work.” (Reuters)