No show of support for Cooper
Cape Town - Outspoken flyhalf Quade Cooper may feel he has support from his
teammates but none in Australia's camp in Pretoria is prepared to show
According to stuff.co.nz website, ahead of their Rugby Championship Test against South Africa on
Saturday at Loftus Versfeld, skipper Nathan Sharpe was again asked about
his thoughts on Cooper's ongoing criticism of the Australian set-up.
Cooper has complained of a "toxic environment" within the Wallabies,
claiming he's unlikely to play for the national team again unless his
concerns are addressed by authorities.
He feels there are several problems within rugby, including a lack
of appropriate facilities for the team to prepare and train for
"There's no doubt there's support amongst the boys and, like I said,
there's going to be people that are happy and some that are unhappy,"
Cooper told Fox Sports' The Rugby Club on Thursday night.
While coach Robbie Deans said Cooper was still welcome in the
Wallabies, a visibly annoyed Sharpe only wanted to focus on the game.
"We're concerned with the game on the weekend," he said in Pretoria.
"Those things will play themselves out the way they're supposed to.
"We're over here to do a job and that's to beat South Africa,
representing Australia ... we're looking forward to that and all those
things happening back home, we've got no influence over them."
From the outside the players in Pretoria appear very tight, organising an extra team dinner on their night off this week.
After Cooper's appearance on the television show another injured
Wallaby, outside back Drew Mitchell, issued an intriguing but ambiguous
comment on Twitter.
"Finding it increasingly difficult to bite my tongue........,"
Mitchell tweeted, failing to elaborate whether he was even discussing
Cooper's comments and whether he supported or disagreed with the
Queensland Reds star.
The ARU on Friday released a statement claiming Cooper's latest interview had left the governing body baffled.
"He talks of an unhappy environment without elaborating," ARU boss John O'Neill said.
O'Neill was most disturbed by Cooper being "firm about not playing for the Wallabies unless things change".
"If that is how he feels, then that is his choice," he said.
Brumbies coach Jake White, who is on holidays in South Africa, said Cooper was out of line.
"What I've read, it's obviously not great for anyone to come out and
slander the team you play for and the coach you play for," White said
on South African television show Boots 'n All.
"It doesn't matter whether it's Quade Cooper or any other
international player, you can't allow the players to come out and say
what they want, especially in a forum like that.
"I'm sure the ARU are not going to just let this go by."
O'Neill's statement didn't mention whether Cooper was facing disciplinary action.