Rugby Championship

Cooper: Attack or perish

2012-09-20 09:26
Quade Cooper (Gallo)
Sydney - Quade Cooper's patience with conservative rugby has worn out and he wants the Wallabies to be brave, not boring, to boost their fortunes and lagging support.

Cooper is the latest to join a long injury list but passionately called for Australia to buck the trend and back their attacking instincts in upcoming Tests against South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand.

In words which will strike a chord with concerned rugby fans, the mercurial playmaker warned the code would continue to lose public interest if the Wallabies failed to deliver an exciting brand.

Despite an error-riddled last start against Argentina, where the best and worst of his talents were on show, Cooper vowed he wouldn't be afraid to back his attacking philosophy on his return to action.

"I know we're competing against a lot of other sports in this country," the flyhalf said.

"If people want to go out there and play a boring brand of football then there's other guys they can pick to do that.

"I don't want to walk off the field wondering whether I should have tried this or tried that.

"That's where you get the confidence from as a team because when things come off you feel 10-feet tall.

"That's something I'm really passionate about."

Cooper's comments come as coach Robbie Deans, who reverted to a conservative field-position game plan for last year's Rugby World Cup, is under growing pressure to see out the last 12 months of his two-year contract.

In a shot at their uninspiring play in 27-19 and 22-0 losses to the All Blacks last month, the 38-Test flyhalf predicted Australia would continue to lose to the world champions if they played with caution.

He stressed the Wallabies needed to take a high-risk approach to maximise their talents.

Cooper almost paid the price for that approach on Saturday when Deans was close to hooking him for a string of errors in the 23-19 comeback win over the Pumas.

He gave no apologies for throwing caution to the wind at Skilled Park as a "warm-up" for next month's third Bledisloe Test in Brisbane.

"I just put (the errors) down to the fact I'd rather go down swinging and try and make our attack work," said Cooper, who undergoes knee surgery on Friday.

"It's the only way we're going to beat the All Blacks.

"I'd much rather go down swinging and throwing the punches to put yourself in a winning position than come out saying we kept it close.

"It's okay if you come close but it's not if you never look like beating them.

"We can't be afraid. We should have respect for them but also have enough faith in our own ability."

Cooper hoped to see Kurtley Beale, dropped twice from fullback in the Rugby Championship, take his No 10 jersey against the Springboks in Pretoria.

"He'll want to try and spark things and take the game on," he said.

"That's what I saw my role as - to attack the game and try and make it a brand of rugby that people want to watch."


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