Cheika bites bullet to dump buddy Quade from Wallabies squad Axing Cooper ‘ big call’
QUADE Cooper’s rollercoaster rugby career has taken another downward turn, but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes the mercurial five- eighth can fight his way back into Test contention.
The 70- Test veteran was a shock omission from the Wallabies’ extended train- on squad ahead of the Rugby Championship, starting on August 19 when the Wallabies play New Zealand at ANZ Stadium.
Cheika named a 38- man squad of players from the NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force after their Super Rugby seasons ended, with Brumbies to be added after their elimination from the tournament. Cooper was sparingly used off the bench in the Wallabies three June Test and Cheika hadn’t been impressed by his Super Rugby form.
“It was difficult for me because I’ve got a good relationship with him,” Cheika said.
“I feel I was pretty instrumental in him coming back ( from Europe) so it was a big call for me. He was obviously BEING pretty in pink sits just fine with the Townsville Heat and Flames, especially when it’s all for a vital cause.
The Queensland Basketball League teams are wearing special pink strips for next weekend’s home game against the Logan Thunder, and will hold a post- game auction to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
The Heat and Flames, who play Gladstone Port City Power at Towns- very disappointed and you’d want him to be disappointed, but I think he wanted to hear what I had to say to him so that he could get himself back into the team.”
Asked if he was confident Cooper could fight his way back Cheika said: “I think it’s definitely his character and what he’d do there.”
Cheika said he’s looking at Kurtley Beale as the back up to established five- eighth Bernard Foley, though he’s primarily looking at the utility back as an inside centre.
Cooper’s Reds’ teammate, ville Basketball Stadium tomorrow night, want to get the word out early so supporters turn out in droves for their annual charity game.
“This cause is close to a lot of people in Australia and breast cancer affects so many women and families each year, so we’re very proud to be getting behind the foundation,” Flames star Mia Murray said.
“The more bottoms on seats we get the better, and it will be fantastic to raise some money and more importantly more awareness.”
Heat import Jamell Anderson said No. 8 Scott Higginbotham, was also omitted despite starting in two of the three June Tests.
Cheika felt Higginbotham needed to have more impact on those games.
“I think there were some things in particular I wanted him to do, to bring to his game, to add to his game, to how he played with the Reds this season,” Cheika said.
Beale, who recently ended a stint with English club Wasps, returns to a national squad for the first time since the 2015 World Cup final. Locks Kane Duglas and Rob Simmons, breast cancer had a huge impact on community.
“Sadly there’s not too many people out there right now who don’t know someone who’s dealing with it,” he said.
“It affects everybody, so to be a part of this cause is massive.
“Everyone I’ve met here is really nice and really helpful in every way, so hopefully everyone can get behind it.”
Townsville Basketball has been running games to support different charities for many years as a club in- who were Australia’s starting locks in that game have also been recalled, along with Force props Pek Cowan and Tetera Faulkner.
Jermaine Ainsley, Adam Coleman, Pek Cowan, Jack Dempsey, Kane Douglas, Sef Fa’agase, Tetera Faulkner, Ned Hanigan, Richard Hardwick, Michael Hooper, Sekope Kepu, Adam Korczyk, Tolu Latu, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore ( c), Tatafu Polota- Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Lopeti Timani, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese. Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett- Petty, Reece Hodge, Karmichael Hunt, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Campbell Magnay, Billy Meakes, Eto Nabuli, Sefa Naivalu, Izaia Perese, Nick Phipps, Curtis Rona. itiative, and development manager Greg Vanderjagt said this year’s cause was close to home for many of the organisation’s members.
“It’s a disease and a cause that’s very close to a lot of our members, so it’s a chance to use our QBL program as a vehicle to drive awareness of breast cancer and help with funding for research,” he said.
“It’s going to be a big night here at Townsville Basketball, and we hope people will open their minds and open their pockets for the charity we’re supporting this year.”