Wal­la­bies vic­to­ries all that mat­ter for Cooper

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

QUADE Cooper is adamant he can keep a bliss­ful tun­nel vi­sion through his con­tract saga to only fo­cus on Wal­la­bies wins and the wis­dom of new men­tor Steve Larkham.

Whether he gets first shot at the No. 10 jersey on Satur­day night against South Africa is the burn­ing ques­tion be­cause yesterday’s ev­i­dence was that Bernard Fo­ley would start there. Cooper ( right) made it clear the only des­ti­na­tion he was in­ter­ested in was Sun­corp Sta­dium, not whether he would be at French club Toulon or in Aus­tralia next year.

The Larkham in­flu­ence could be the mak­ing of Cooper at 27. The 1999 World Cup win­ner’s ways were of­ten the tem­plate that Ed­die Jones, Cooper’s first Reds coach in 2007, used to show him how a top five- eighth should play.

Cooper’s style of play­ing flat at the de­fen­sive line with an ar­ray of passes to force mis­reads is the clos­est to the game Larkham came to master in his 102 Tests.

“I’ve never re­ally had a backs coach like Bernie be­fore and it’s some­thing I’m rel­ish­ing,” Cooper said.

“When I was younger, Ed­die pushed me to watch Bernie as an ex­am­ple for my­self to play flat, play at the line and use my pass­ing abil­ity.

“Hav­ing him here has taken it to a whole new level.”

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