Cooper will return 'better'

2011-10-22 22:07

Sydney - Wallabies captain James Horwill believes injured flyhalf Quade Cooper will return a bigger and better player after being so heavily scrutinised at the Rugby World Cup.

Horwill and coach Robbie Deans fronted the media at Sydney Airport on Saturday night after the squad returned from New Zealand following their bittersweet victory over Wales in the play-off for third on Friday.

A scan on Sunday will determine whether Cooper needs an operation after his right knee gave way in the 20th minute of the 21-18 triumph. The Queenslander was thought to have suffered an interior cruciate ligament injury. It brought a cruel end to a tough tournament for the New Zealand-born Wallaby, who locals targeted from the stands.

While Horwill predicted Cooper would be an even better player for the experience, he defended his pivot from the suggestion he may have had some "chinks" exposed under pressure. "I don't know about chinks," Horwill said on Saturday night. "Obviously, it was pretty well documented . . . the external stuff that was going on but, internally, he was as Quade is, and a lot of people don't sort of realise that.

"I think it was a minority of the public doing it, because any time we walked around New Zealand there was more people stopping Quade and asking for autographs and photos than I've seen of any footballer. The New Zealand public were very hospitable towards us and Quade in particular."

Second-rower Dan Vickerman and centre Pat McCabe could also need operations, while the availability of fullback Kurtley Beale and back-rowers Wycliff Palu and Rocky Elsom for the two-match northern hemisphere tour starting next month were under a cloud.

Horwill expected that Cooper, like the entire squad, would gain a lot when he reflected upon the lessons of the World Cup campaign.

"You learn probably more from things you don't succeed in than when you do succeed," he said.

"Quade certainly would've learnt a couple of things from this, and also got a bit of a setback, obviously, now with this injury."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans praised Cooper's resilience, saying he won over the Kiwi public by carrying himself with dignity despite the taunts. "He carried himself impressively," Deans said. "He didn't lower himself, and I think it was appreciated in the long run."

Deans wasn't surprised to have come under harsh scrutiny after Australia were bundled out of the cup. "When you don't win, you don't ultimately do what you set out to do, then everything comes under scrutiny and, potentially, all the decisions that were made were flawed," he said.

"I'm not [satisfied] – we went there with aspirations of winning, so we're not happy to that end, but I'm proud of the effort the boys put in."

Horwill said he had learned a number of tough lessons. "World Cup is a different kettle of fish, being my first World Cup I noticed that," he said. "You need to execute when you get the opportunity, and that's something we probably didn't do a lot in this tournament . . . when we did get opportunities we let it slip and let teams off the hook.

"I think the defensive effort and the pride we showed in our line was an outstanding effort as a group."

Rugby Heaven

  • Nzbro - 2011-10-22 22:13

    the irony of it It was that very knee that he tried to use to injure Mccaw that earned him "NZ most wanted felon" Thats not gonna change. hope he returns for more.Quade bashing ...its become a national sport.

      Noskalator - 2011-10-23 01:09

      @Nzbro, Hahaha that is kind of funny when you look at it like that. Still wasn't good to see him get injured. Jeepers the Welsh booing him in the crowd were a bit harsh ;)

  • Klark - 2011-10-22 23:32

    I believe that Cooper has the potential to be a really great player. He just needs to learn to shut his mouth, and twitter account ,and do the talking on the field. Near the end I thought the crowd were actually giving him to much of a serve it was a bit much.

      Theo - 2011-10-22 23:47

      he did work damn hard at it to earn the crowds displeasure. if he wants to give it he must learn to take it. He just never expected to get it back from 4.3 mil angry kiwis. He is the wallabies weakest link Im afraid and he does not think so. I was never in favour of his foul tactics in this professional era.There are other options to replace him.

  • Te - 2011-10-23 01:13

    Well he certainly couldn't get any worse.

  • Gordon - 2011-10-23 06:21

    great player but wasting his talent on silly stuff. hope he recover to display his talents next year in the super 15 season

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