Injury ends Cooper's RWC
Auckland - Quade Cooper's Rugby World Cup ended
bitterly on Friday when he injured his knee and was helped from the field
after 21 minutes of Australia's third-place playoff against Wales.
by a loss of form and confidence and harassed by hostile crowds, Cooper
struggled to express his talent at a tournament which could have been
The Wallabies playmaker who brilliantly led the Reds to the Super 15 tournament this season was at a loss
throughout the tournament to recover that form and that authority. He
faltered under pressure when Australia lost to Ireland in the group
stage and in knockout matches against South Africa and New Zealand.
slightly less pressure in Friday's playoff for third, Cooper seemed to
have a new spring in his step. Playing more often at first receiver
behind a Wallabies pack that was generally going forward, he showed some
of his finer passing touches and an ability to bring runners into play.
wasn't flawless. In the eighth minute and with Australia hammering the
Welsh line from a penalty tap only five meters out, he threw a pass at
the feet of center Adam Ashley-Cooper as he crashed into the line from
Still, Cooper looked confident, sliding into half gaps
around midfield, taking an exploratory step or two then attempting to
work teammates into space. But in the 21st minute, carrying the ball in
another Australian attack, he changed direction sharply, appeared to
step and twist awkwardly and fell to the ground in pain.
clutching his left knee before receiving on-field treatment from
Australian medical staff, then being assisted to the dressing room.
New Zealand fans who had harried Cooper so relentlessly throughout the
tournament, booing his every touch of the ball, were suddenly contrite
and he left the field to sympathetic applause.