Rugby World Cup 2011

'Watch but don't copy' Cooper

2011-09-22 10:33
Quade Cooper (Gallo)

Wellington - Quade Cooper is great to watch but not necessarily the best player to try to emulate, according to the man who will have to try and contain him when the United States play Australia in the Rugby World Cup on Friday.

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"He's a world-class player," United States flyhalf Nese Malifa said on Thursday ahead of their Pool C clash at the Wellington Regional Stadium.

"He will take a lot to (defend against) because he loves to have the ball in hand and run rather than kick, so we will be looking for the behind the back passes and the no-lookers.

"He is a very creative player. Watching him (is great), but I wouldn't want to learn from him.

"The 50-50s he throws is not a very good way to learn. He likes those passes. He is a high-risk, high-reward player."

The 26-year-old Malifa, who had surgery on his shoulder and knee so he could be fit for the World Cup, said his style of play was more conservative than Cooper and he instinctively liked to play territory first.

He has been told to be more attacking, which should not be a problem given he is also in the US sevens squad and will head back to the IRB's world sevens circuit after the World Cup.

"I love sevens because it helps with my 15s game ... and it gives me confidence to try stuff," the marketing student said.

The Wallabies, upset 15-6 by Ireland last week and now looking likely to finish runners-up in the pool and face a more difficult path to the final, have spoken to Cooper about his risk-taking.

Cooper played poorly last week as the quality of ball he was receiving was disrupted constantly by the Irish forwards.

He also threw a no-look, behind-the-back pass while hot on attack, which was intercepted by winger Tommy Bowe, who sprinted 95 metres before he was brought down by James O'Connor in the corner.

"If Quade was here he'd tell you that if he had his time again he might take some different choices," Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said when asked if he felt Cooper would tone down his game.

"It's absolutely certain that he won't get every decision right. Neither will Willy (Genia). Neither will any of us. Neither will any player in this tournament."

Centre Anthony Faingaa, however, said while Cooper was a confident player he felt that his Reds team-mate could play conservatively if he had too.

"Quade does have that game," Faingaa said on Thursday.

"He can play territory and we did it throughout the whole year (with the Reds), so it's just pulling that out of his toolbox."


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