Sydney - Quade Cooper is resigned to being New Zealand's Public Enemy No 1
for the rest of his career and the recalled Wallaby says he's already
bracing for more crowd abuse from All Blacks fans.
According to the stuff.co.nz website, Kiwi-born Cooper earned the dubious honour three years ago amid his
running battle with All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, with the
playmaker's popularity slumping to a nasty low at the 2011 Rugby World
Cup in his native New Zealand.
But even McCaw has grown tired of the taunts and pleaded with fans
to back off after Cooper was jeered endlessly in the Crusaders' Super
Rugby semi-final win over the Reds in Christchurch two weeks
"If they're going to listen to anybody, it'll be Richie. But I can't
control that so I'm not going to get too involved or worry about it,"
Cooper said on Wednesday.
He may not be worrying but, believing mud sticks, Cooper admits he
is at least mentally preparing for the flak to fly his way when, if as
expected, he is reinstated to the Wallabies line-up for back-to-back
Tests against the All Blacks in Sydney and Wellington this month.
"It hasn't died down. You can't do anything about that. You can't go
out there and tell them to be quiet. That's going to make them even
louder," he said.
"So you just get on with what you can control, practise as much as
possible and have those thoughts in the back of your mind when you're
practising - know that the crowd is going to get into you like that and
embrace it and I will.
"Not so much go out there and enjoy it but train it so when you're out there, it's not going to catch you off guard."
While conceding the constant catcalls during the World Cup made for
"difficult circumstances", Cooper accepts them as "part of professional
"There's rivalries in each game that builds hype around the game," he said.
"It's a way for people to sell the game, why people turn up to
watch. Not only do they come there to see great games of rugby, they
come there to see rivalries.
Cooper insists the unwanted attention doesn't fuel his desire to deliver against the world champion All Blacks.
"I don't think you need extra motivation to go out and play the All Blacks," he said.