Rugby

We just need time to gel - Toulon's Cooper

2016-01-08 17:37
Quade Cooper (AP)

Toulon - Star-studded yet stuttering Toulon just need time to gel, according to Australian playmaker Quade Cooper.

Toulon are three-time defending European Cup champions but they face a must-win game against Bath on Sunday in the knowledge that defeat would almost certainly see their knock-out hopes end.

Both sides have two wins and a defeat from three games but trail Pool 5 leaders Wasps by six points.

As neither side have picked up any bonus points yet, defeat would make winning the group virtually impossible while also rendering the chances of taking one of the two qualifying second place finishes negligible.

Toulon are currently fourth in the Top 14 standings, but have lost five of their 12 league games this season.

Cooper insisted that it was just a matter of time for the Mourad Boudjellal-financed team.

"This club has some amazing players and everybody brings something different to the table," Cooper said.

"What we need to do as a club is to win games. You've got guys coming from different countries, from the World Cup, everyone's coming together and we've only played a handful of games together.

"We'll get better and I'm sure that we'll enjoy it more and the spectators will enjoy it more the further down the year we get.

"As athletes, we want to win every game. No matter who you're playing, you want to win. This game (against Bath) is no different, we know there's a lot on the line."

Cooper added that his adaptation to life in France was taking time.

"It's a different experience. Coming over here, you have to adjust to everything not just rugby, the lifestyle, being away from family and friends and that takes time," the 27-year-old former Reds back said.

"I'm enjoying it. I always knew it wasn't going to be a walk in the park. It was never going to be easy. But that's what we love to do as athletes, you look for challenges and this is one.

"I'm working as hard as I can so hopefully I'll get better and better and be able to put some good performances together for the club, supporters and myself."

Ex-Springbok flank Juan Smith echoed Cooper's views about the need for the team, which saw stalwarts Carl Hayman, Bakkies Botha and Ali Williams retire at the end of last season, to come together.

"We know it's going to be better this week," Smith said.

"We've got a lot of guys back from the World Cup. The team just needs some time to slot together.

"We're an awesome team. We just need some time to play with one another and get that confidence.

"You don't win this competition in February, it's a long season. We need to play our best games in May when the semi-finals and finals come."

Read more on:    toulon  |  quade cooper  |  rugby
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