Deans not talking to Cooper about Wallabies

Former Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper has revealed that he has had no contact “at all” with Australia coach Robbie Deans since he was left out of an initial Wallabies squad for the British and Irish Lions series.

Cooper told South Africa’s Sport24 website that he would respond to his dropping
by focusing on his role with Super Rugby team the Reds, and hasn’t been fretting
over whether he’ll be added to the Australia squad when six additional players
are called up early next month.

“My omission is something that I have no control over, but I can only
respond by working harder by doing well for the Reds and continue to enjoy my
rugby,” Cooper, who has 38 test caps, said in Thursday’s interview in Cape
Town.

“I haven’t been in contact with Robbie Deans and the Wallaby setup at
all. There is no point in looking too far into the future. I first have a job
to do with the Reds.”

Although Cooper could still make the Wallabies group for the three-test series
starting June 22, Deans’ decision to leave him out of his first 25-man squad
was a clear sign that the coach now views James O’Connor as his first-choice
No. 10, with backup from Berrick Barnes and Christian Lealiifano.

Cooper’s relationship with Deans disintegrated last season when the talented
but unpredictable playmaker publicly criticized the atmosphere in the squad
under the New Zealand-born coach, calling it “toxic.”

He also praised Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie – Deans’ likely successor for
the Wallabies job – in his interview for Sport24, underlining his loyalty to
the Reds boss.

“It’s a pleasure to play in the current Reds setup under Ewen McKenzie
as coach. I have to take advice and listen to the coach so that I can try to
improve all aspects of my game,” Cooper said.

Deans denied Cooper’s time as a Wallaby was over this weekend when naming his
initial 25 to take on the Lions in tests in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in
June and July, saying “people will say that’s the end for Quade, but that’s
not the case.”

Ahead of the next Wallabies selections on June 11, Cooper will continue to
lead the fourth-place Reds’ push for a home semifinal in the Super 15, beginning
with their game at the Stormers on Saturday.

McKenzie recalled No. 8 Radike Samo for his first Super Rugby start of the
season and fullback Jono Lance also returned to the Reds starting lineup for
the Stormers, while Cooper said he would again be in attacking mood at Newlands.

“People that come to watch rugby pay a lot of money and would love to
be entertained,” he said. “It’s is our job as rugby players to go
out and entertain them.”

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