Quade Cooper omit­ted from Wal­la­bies train­ing squad

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Quade Cooper has been omit­ted from Aus­tralia’s 38-man train­ing squad for the Rugby Cham­pi­onship and Bledis­loe Cup, rais­ing ques­tions about the fu­ture test prospects of the flashy but of­ten un­pre­dictable play­maker.

The move leaves Bernard Fo­ley as the only spe­cial­ist fly­half in the ex­tended squad an­nounced by Wal­la­bies coach Michael Cheika yes­ter­day for a se­ries of train­ing camps start­ing north of Syd­ney next week. Kurt­ley Beale, a util­ity back who re­cently re­turned from Eng­land, was re­called to the Wal­la­bies squad for the first time since the 2015 World Cup and is only other po­ten­tial No. 10 in the ini­tial group.

Cooper’s omis­sion is his first based on form since former Wal­laby coach Rob­bie Deans left him out of the 2013 Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions se­ries. Cheika in­di­cated it was not nec­es­sar­ily the end of in­ter­na­tional rugby for 29-year-old Cooper, who was only used spar­ingly off the bench in the June test matches against Fiji, Scot­land and Italy.

“We have had a talk about the rea­sons why and ob­vi­ously a lot of that is around try­ing to get him back into the space where he can be that player that is go­ing to get us around the park and do the stuff we want him to do,” Cheika said. “I don’t feel like that has been hap­pen­ing.”

Cheika did not se­lect any play­ers from the Brumbies, who are host­ing a Su­per Rugby quar­ter­fi­nal against the Hur­ri­canes on Fri­day in Can­berra. The squad in­cludes 11 un­capped play­ers, and seven others with four or fewer test caps. Cooper’s ab­sence didn’t ap­pear to be in­jury re­lated. In a state­ment con­firm­ing the squad, the Aus­tralian Rugby Union said only three play­ers - Kyle Good­win, Lukhan Tui and James Slip­per - were not con­sid­ered for se­lec­tion be­cause of in­juries.

Back­rower Scott Hig­gin­botham, who has played 34 tests for Aus­tralia, was one of the other no­table omis­sions. The test squad will be cho­sen in the first week of Au­gust. “We have a lot of work to get done be­tween now and Aug. 9 when we play New Zealand in Syd­ney,” Cheika said. “That work started in June, we tried to main­tain some of that through­out the last rounds of Su­per Rugby and now we start to take it up a level.”

Aus­tralia squad

For­wards: 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 (cap­tain), Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robert­son, Izack Rodda, Rob Sim­mons, Lopeti Ti­mani, Taniela Tupou, Jor­dan Ue­lese.

Backs: 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. —AP

— AP

PRE­TO­RIA: In this Oct. 1, 2016 file photo, South Africa’s Lionel Mapoe, left, is tack­led by Aus­tralia’s Quade Cooper, top right, and team­mate Bernard Fo­ley, dur­ing the Rugby Cham­pi­onship match be­tween South Africa and Aus­tralia, at Lof­tus Vers­feld in Pre­to­ria, South Africa. Cooper has been omit­ted from Aus­tralia’s 38-man train­ing squad.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.