Deans rules out Cooper recall
Sydney - Australia coach Robbie Deans is resisting the urge to recall Quade Cooper despite an upset loss to Scotland, saying it would be "negligent" to rush the Wallabies playmaker into the first Test against Wales this weekend.
Cooper has played only one and a half Super Rugby matches since his return from a knee injury he sustained at last year's Rugby World Cup which required a seven-month rehabilitation. He was named in Australia's extended squad for the Scotland test but released before Tuesday's match to concentrate on his recovery.
Berrick Barnes played at flyhalf and was unconvincing in Australia's 9-6 loss to Scotland in a rain-soaked Test at Newcastle. Pressure has mounted on Deans to recall Cooper for the first of three Tests against Wales but he told reporters "there's no chance of that."
"Because it would be negligent. He's not ready and he understands that," Deans said. "It's not worth the risk because you could compromise not only him in the long run but also us."
Barnes was chosen at flyhalf for Tuesday's match in the absence of James O'Connor, who has a lacerated liver, and Kurtley Beale, who has a shoulder injury. By rejecting a recall for Cooper, Deans has little option but to stick with Barnes in Saturday's much tougher test against 6 Nations champion Wales.
Pat McCabe is expected to join the Wallabies' starting lineup against Wales at inside center, replacing Mike Harris and leaving Barnes to also take on the goalkicking duties.
Deans said Barnes, along with all of the Wallabies team, had much to work on.
"To use the ball effectively you've got to have a greater understanding of direction and shape and we lacked that," against Scotland, Deans said. "Combinations and so forth came up short in the first instance.
"They're back in the groove of Test rugby for sure. For anyone who forgot the distinction it's very large in their minds now."
Deans expected Wales to try to take advantage on Saturday of Australia's likely weariness.
"It wouldn't surprise me if the Welsh, in the knowledge that we have had to play two games already this week, don't adapt their tactics to make the most of that," he said. "You'll see some fresh legs (in the Australian team) with a fresh mindset.
"There was a huge contact load for the group not surprisingly in those conditions. There's a significant number of the group who will have to back up. We will monitor them individually."