Genius, unpredictable, controversial; whichever way you look at Quade Cooper, you can not deny the fly-half oozes talent, and can win a game at any level with his flashes of brilliance.
No stranger to a dispute with Australian rugby, Cooper has previously found himself ostracised from the squad after criticising former Wallaby coach Robbie Deans’ tactics and squad management; he was fined a record $60,000 for such comments and dropped from the squad back in 2013.
However, this time round under Michael Cheika, Cooper has been dropped from the Australian squad for his recent form in Super Rugby. The fly-half will therefore not play a part in the Wallabies Bledisloe Cup clash with New Zealand next month:
“From a form perspective in Super Rugby, I don’t think his form has been brilliant,
With us, it’s a little different because I haven’t given him a lot of minutes.
It was difficult for me because I’ve got a good relationship with him. I feel I was pretty instrumental in him coming back, so it was a big call for me. He was obviously very disappointed and you want him to be.”
Australia coach, Michael Cheika
Such omission from the Wallabies squad highlights a distinct lack of 10s currently in Australian rugby. Bernard Foley will therefore be the only obvious choice who can play at fly-half with Cooper’s omission, leaving Kurtley Beale as the only real back-up option following the Aussies return from English side, Wasps.
Despite a noticeable performance from Cooper in the Reds’ 16-15 victory over the Brumbies, the fly-half has clearly not done enough to convince his coach on selection for the test of New Zealand.
Cooper already has 70 caps for the national side at the age of 29, but his chances of World Cup selection in 2019 are not looking promising following a less than convincing season with the Reds, and 11 new faces being selected by the Australian boss.
It was the most noticeable omission from the Australian squad who will be looking to make amends from a hit and miss summer after a defeat from Scotland left Cheika and his side facing heavy criticism from the Australian media.