Quade Cooper “Desperate” To Return To Test Rugby
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Australian playmaker Quade Cooper has admitted that he is desperate to end almost a year of exile from international rugby but was taking nothing for granted.
The flyhalf has not played for Australia since last September after labelling the Wallabies atmosphere “toxic”.
He was dumped by former coach Robbie Deans for the recent losing series against the British and Irish Lions. But the 25-year-old has been named in new coach Ewen McKenzie’s training squad for the Rugby Championship and his Queensland Reds mentor is expected to use him.
“When you have time away from the game, whether it be for your club side or your national team, whenever you’re selected for that team again the hunger is always there,” Cooper said.
“But, for me, my work ethic away from the team is what I’ve had to work on the most.
“Not knowing if you’re going to be involved in the team, that’s something when you’re away from the team you’ve got to work hard on and if you are lucky enough to be called up, then you’re ready to go.”
Cooper, up against uncapped pair Matt Toomua and Bernard Foley for the flyhalf role, is hopeful of being chosen for the opening Rugby Championship game, against New Zealand on August 17 in Sydney.
“It’s just good to be back around the boys and back in camp and the excitement that’s around the team is pretty good,” he said.
“All the boys have been pumped for training and again I’m looking forward to training today and hopefully being a part of the squad moving forward.”
McKenzie will cut his squad on Friday but is expected to keep the controversial attacking player in the final mix.
“Every position is hotly contested and No.10 is no different,” Cooper said.
“There’s two other guys who are great players and who have done a great job for their teams throughout the year. So I’ve just got to come here with an open mind.
“Obviously you can’t look at yourself as being the best at everything. There’s going to be things that I’ll bring to the team and things that they’ll bring to the team.
“So as long as we can learn off each other and try and contribute as much to the team as possible, I’m sure whoever is picked in the position can do a great job for the team.”