Connolly calls for Cooper ban
Sydney - Former Test coach John Connolly has called for the Australian Rugby
Union (ARU) to ban disgruntled playmaker Quade Cooper for 12 months for
his "unforgivable" criticism of the Wallabies.
According to stuff.co.nz website, on a day when his coaching successor Robbie Deans said he'd started
rebuilding bridges with Cooper, Connolly tipped the ARU to punish the
star flyhalf in the next week over claims of a toxic environment in
Cooper's future in the code is on thin ice following a series of
attacks on the code and the Wallabies' boring style of play, and his
reluctance to wear the gold jersey until things changed.
Connolly, who took Australia to the 2007 World Cup and previously
coached Queensland through their successful 1990s era, said the attacks
simply couldn't be tolerated.
"It's unforgivable what Cooper did," Connolly told Radio Sport New
Zealand. "You can't imagine one of the All Blacks criticising (coach
Steve) Hansen and the game.
"It's just ridiculous what's happened and I hope (the ARU) do make a
strong statement. He's said he doesn't want to play for his country -
well then that's fine.
"I don't think you treat the Wallabies coach or the country or the
jersey or speak about the game the way he did without some severe
ramifications - maybe a 12-month suspension from the game."
High-level talks between the ARU and Queensland Rugby Union over
Cooper's issues are expected to be held this weekend and the matter is
certain to be discussed at next week's ARU board meeting.
While sidelined by a knee injury, Cooper is determined to play on
for the Queensland Reds - who boast an 87 per cent success rate in the
past three seasons with him at No.10 - but he first needs to sign an ARU
Deans on Friday said he'd spoken to the 24-year-old this week and
would talk to him again in the days following Saturday night's Bledisloe
clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Asked if he was confident there would be a resolution, Deans nodded.
Cooper's absence from the national team - on top of injuries to
fellow playmakers James O'Connor and Berrick Barnes and halfback Will
Genia - prompted reports Australia were considering calling Matt Giteau
and Luke Burgess into their European tour squad.
The former Wallabies halves partners both play in France which
precludes them from selection under the long-held ARU policy of only
picking Australian-based players.