Brisbane - Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said Sunday that mercurial playmaker
Quade Cooper will not be one of the six additions to his squad for the Test
series against the British and Irish Lions.
Deans has left open the possibility of Cooper playing a part in this month's
three-Test series should injury strike key players, but did not call him into
the camp following Saturday's Reds-Lions game.
"We've obviously not included him (Cooper) in the additional six at
this stage, but as you've seen (with injuries), things happen quickly,"
Deans told reporters.
"This is a three-Test campaign and nothing surprises you in this
"Quade is a huge talent; we understand what he is capable of.
"We've now settled on the squad and we'll get on with our
Cooper did his best to confound the Lions and was at the heart of the
Queensland Reds' attack, showing glimpses of his best as the tourists struggled
to a 22-12 win to remain unbeaten after three tour games in Brisbane on
The polarising Queensland flyhalf has not featured for Australia since he
labelled the Wallabies atmosphere "toxic" following last September's
narrow win over Argentina on the Gold Coast.
But while Cooper does not fit into Deans's plans for the Lions series,
troubled fullback Kurtley Beale is now expected to be included after recent
rehab for alcohol problems.
Although the final squad of 31 is expected to be named late Monday Beale and
four other players - centre Pat McCabe, scrumhalf Luke Burgess, backrower Peter
Kimlin and prop Scott Sio - joined the Wallabies camp Sunday, signalling their
Deans said Beale had "presented himself in the right physical and
mental shape" after a rehabilitation programme to address problems with
Lions coach Warren Gatland spoke highly of Cooper's talents after the win
over the Reds.
"He just plays with a different threat. With Quade you get the full bag
of tricks. You've got to watch him - the quick taps and stuff," Gatland said.
"If someone else plays 10 (for the Wallabies), you'll get more
Former Wallaby Brendan Cannon, who made his international debut against the
British and Irish Lions back in 2001, said Cooper's errors on Saturday were
outweighed by "an array of skills that is unmatched".
"No other player in this country can pass with the width and accuracy
that he does, and that tested the Lions on numerous occasions," Cannon
"What we saw last night was the kind of expansive play that can defeat
the Lions over three Tests."
Cooper's Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie repeated his belief that Cooper
should be in the Wallabies squad.
"I know I'm biased, but I pick Quade every week and if I was picking a
team next week, I'd pick him again."