Door still open for Cooper
QUADE Cooper could have “very easily” been selected to play for the Wallabies against the Barbarians but captaining the invitational team will give the Reds star a better chance to press his claim for a Test recall, says coach Michael Cheika.
Cheika revealed the Wallabies- Barbarians match on October 28 would be viewed as a selection trial for spots on the Spring Tour. He said he would hold off naming the squad for the Wallabies’ five- match tour of Japan and Europe until a day after Australia clash with the Barbarians at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium, so that it served as a legitimate trial.
“This is a huge tunity,” Cheika said.
Barbarians coach Alan Jones made Cooper captain of his side, but Cheika revealed that he had been thinking of using Cooper himself.
“In all honesty, he probably could have been playing for us very easily here,” he said. oppor- KARMICHAEL Hunt is confident a much- improved Wallabies outfit can beat New Zealand in next week’s rugby Test and that he can return to play a part.
The utility will play the second game in his comeback from ankle surgery for National Rugby Championship outfit Brisbane City tomorrow before he joins the Wallabies squad for Saturday week’s Bledisloe C Cup dead rubber.
Hunt ( left) insisted he was ready to be thrown into battle if called on by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika despite having only 40 minutes of club rugby under his belt since surgery.
“There were no lingering effects, no in- game effects ( in the comeback game) and I’m definitely confident in where I’m at right now,” Hunt said.
After playing his way into Cheika’s first- choice side, Hunt was a late withdrawal from Australia’s squad for the opening Bledisloe Cup clash in August.
The All Blacks racked up their biggest score against their traditional rivals, prevailing 54- 34 after leading 54- 6.
Since then the Wallabies have beaten Argentina twice, drawn twice with South Africa, and came within minutes of a rare Bledisloe Cup win on New Zealand soil in a heartbreaking 35- 29 Dunedin defeat.