Horwill : Cooper will do his talking on the field

Wallabies and Reds captain James Horwill has backed Quade Cooper to win back the respect of his fellow players in this year’s Super Rugby season.

Horwill says that Cooper must let his playing do the talking this season after he alienated several of his team mates during a Twitter rant in which he called the Wallabies camp a ‘toxic environment’.

Twenty-four-year-old Cooper was fined A$60,000 for comments on Twitter by the ARU and almost left the game of Rugby Union.

However the ARU eventually offered Cooper a contract which allowed him to remain in Rugby and to play for the Reds.

“Whether he needs to earn respect from other people (I’m not sure) but you let your actions do the talking and Quade’s very big on that,” Horwill told Sportal.

“He needs to make sure he keeps performing the way he can and we all know he can because he is a world-class player and someone who’s got some freakish ability that a lot of people in the world would be pretty envious of.

“Quade for us at the Reds has always been the guy that’s always turned up and been very proud and worked hard to play for Queensland, so I can’t fault him in that sense.”

Horwill said that he could not question Cooper’s commitment to the Reds pre-season preparations despite him taking part in his first professional boxing match last Friday night.

“Quade’s been excellent, he hasn’t missed a session, he’s trained extremely hard, he’s obviously in very good shape physically,” he said.

“Any time you have injuries and interruptions to your year it’s frustrating and that happened to him obviously last year and he might have struggled with that a bit.

“But he’s been fit, he’s been training, he’s been running, doing everything and you can see that he’s really enjoying being out there so I’m expecting Quade to be Quade and do what he does best.”

Horwill has been pulled from playing in the Reds Super Rugby opener against the Brumbies in Canberra this weekend due to an ankle injury which has come after he spent the last nine months recovering from a serious hamstring injury.

While Horwill is frustrated at missing out this weekend he says he is confident that he will be able to play against the Waratahs in Round 2.

“It’s a little bit frustrating obviously with the long lay-off that we’ve had and everything was sort of tracking the way we had planned it but unfortunately a little hiccup happened,” he said.

“Unfortunately that’s sport so you’ve just got to get the ankle better and get back as soon as I can.

Horwill said that his hamstring is fully healed and is confident that he will be back to playing his best rugby this season.

“It’s been really good, we did a lot of stuff to really test it out and check that it can withstand what is needs too,” he said.

“I’m happy with my fitness, obviously there’s no duplicate for match fitness so I might be a bit short of a run.

“Going into the season is obviously not ideal but it’s the cards we’ve been dealt so we’ve just got to get on with it and do what we can.”

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