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Quade: We will attack
Cape Town - As far as Quade Cooper is concerned there's nothing outrageous about a cross-kick in your own in-goal area and he certainly doesn’t plan on curbing his attacking instincts when the Reds play the Stormers in a Super Rugby match at Newlands on Saturday.
“If we worry too much about the Stormers’ defence, it will stop us from doing what we do well, which is to attack,” Cooper said on Tuesday.
“It will hurt us if we take our foot off the pedal on attack. They have the best defence, but we have to try and find ways around that. It will be tough, but that’s the challenge of playing football and against the Stormers.”
And it’s also a challenge to which Cooper - who by the way celebrated his 23rd birthday on Tuesday - is looking forward to a great deal.
“Personally it will be a great challenge. Our attack is going quite well at the moment, so it will be good to see how we go against the best defence.”
Cooper has enough tricks up his sleeve to even give Stormers defence coach Jacques Nienaber a sleepless night or two.
Just recently the Wallaby flyhalf launched a counter-attack from his own goal area with a cross-kick to Digby Ioane.
Such high-risk rugby is part of the Cooper package. It’s completely unorthodox and contrary to every principle that coaches try to instil in their players, but for him it's completely natural.
“For me it’s nothing outrageous, I just enjoy playing the game,” he said.
“You enjoy doing those things when you’re a kid playing backyard footy. This is just on a bigger stage in front of a few more people, I guess.”
“If there’s a guy unmarked why not give him the ball? Whether you kick or throw the ball, it’s the same thing. You just have to back your teammates to be up for the challenge as well.”
There will also be an intriguing battle at halfback, with the Stormers’ Dewaldt Duvenage and Peter Grant up against Wallaby schemers Will Genia and Cooper.
“It’s going to be interesting because both those guys (Duvenage and Grant) are in good form and playing in a winning team. Hopefully Will and I can work well within the team context and finish on the right side of the equation.”
The Reds will also keep Gio Aplon’s ability to launch counter-attacks in mind before they kick the ball down field.
“The Stormers are also a good attacking side. Bryan Habana is probably the fastest guy in world rugby, Gio can run from anywhere if you kick the ball aimlessly down field, and Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie are big guys with good skill,” said Cooper.
“Our counter for that has to be good defence and backing ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Cooper did not want to indicate whether he intended switching codes to rugby league after the World Cup.
“I don’t think that far ahead. My goal is to play well on Saturday and to help the Reds do well this year. After that I’d like to help Australia do well at the World Cup. Those are my only goals right now.”
Reuters reported Cooper’s new agent Khoder Nasser as saying that the player would be “foolish” not to play rugby league after the World Cup.
It is believed that the Brisbane Broncos are interested in Cooper’s services.