The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
Quade feels the need for Eden redemption
QUADE Cooper is desperate for another chance to bury his Eden Park demons.
The Wallabies’ most analysed player will again carry the hopes of a nation when Australia contests the 20team World Cup tournament in the UK next month.
The Queensland Reds flyhalf will be under the World Cup microscope after the latest in a string of forgettable performances in Auckland.
Cooper was booed there during the 2011 World Cup semi-final, and again a fort- night ago when he was sinbinned during a humiliating loss to the All Blacks.
That is not how Cooper wants to be remembered and he would dearly love another opportunity to face his demons at the home of New Zealand rugby.
“One day I look forward to going there, whenever we have the next opportunity, and winning,” Cooper said.
“It’s not something I am afraid of. It’s a challenge, one that we as footballers look forward to.’’
Cooper was not the only Australian who made errors that night but he has prom- ised to repay the faith of coach Michael Cheika at the World Cup.
Wallabies attack coach Stephen Larkham said Cooper could see things beyond the vision of his teammates and that ability could also cause problems.
“Sometimes within the game, I see things and I expect others to see it the way that I have,” Cooper said.
“It is about trusting all the players. Trusting myself and working off others is something in the past I haven’t done as well as I’d like. It’s something I am working on.’’
Cooper is a changed man from the brash, young risktaker at the 2011 tournament.
Now 27, he claims to be a homebody who appreciates Cheika’s trust and has a greater understanding of the requirements of his role.
“The last World Cup I was very young, we’d come off the back of winning a Super Rugby title, and I think I was a bit complacent,” he said.
“I assumed all the hard work I had been doing since I was 16 had paid off and I was just going to be that player for the rest of my career.
“Now I understand the way you perform is a continual thing. Every day you have to try and stay at that peak. Now I understand the work never stops. If I am going to be the player I want to be at the end of my career, I have to work hard every day.”
The hard lessons learned have left the flyhalf primed for his shot at redemption.
“I am highly motivated for this (World Cup),’’ Cooper said.
“After being at the last World Cup, I learnt a hell of a lot.
“Now I have a coach who believes in me, my teammates all believe in each other, and so I feel a lot more confident.”