Friday 22 November 2019

Cooper runs from media ahead of big comeback

Nigel Whittaker

It may have been the pressure, but Quade Cooper's return to the international rugby spotlight lasted less than it takes the mercurial out-half to take a shot at goal.

Cooper was recalled to the Australia side yesterday for their must-win Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand at Eden Park, but left reporters speculating about his state of mind as he left a media conference after just one question.

Tomorrow morning, the 24-year-old will play his first match for the Wallabies in 10 months since suffering a knee injury at the same ground during the World Cup.

Renowned for his incisive passing and quick feet, the New Zealand-born playmaker had a poor World Cup, to the delight of his countrymen, and suffered the injury when attempting one of his characteristic side-steps in the third-place play-off against Wales.

His famed evasive skills were on full display in Sydney yesterday, however, as he ducked away from reporters eager for his thoughts on his recall.

Healthy

"That's all I want to say is, I'm back. I'm fit, healthy -- I'm ready to go. And I'll see everybody at Eden Park," Cooper said at Leichhardt Oval.

With that, he bent down to put a microphone he had been holding on and turned to leave. Asked if he had anything else to add, he muttered: "No, that's it", as he stalked off. The exchange lasted 13 seconds.

Cooper's media snub may have been prompted by a desire to avoid questions about his last outing against the All Blacks in the World Cup semi-final.

Dubbed 'public enemy No 1' in his homeland after some alleged dirty play on All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, he was greeted by a barrage of jeers before kick-off in the semi-final. He started the match by kicking the ball straight into touch and played poorly thereafter.

Cooper can expect the reception from the fans to be frosty again tomorrow when he runs into the lions' den of a sold-out Eden Park.

He will also be heading into the game without the benefit of match fitness, having been overlooked for June Tests and the Wallabies' opening loss to the All Blacks last week.

teams in factfile

New Zealand v Australia,

Live, Sky Sports 1, tomorrow, 8.35

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Champions Cup returns, Jacob Stockdale's development, and Simon Zebo goes back to Munster

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport