Jones challenges Deans to come clean on Cooper

Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has challenged current Wallabies coach Robbie Deans to come clean on why he has not picked Quade Cooper to face the British and Irish Lions.

Jones says that Deans must not, “treat the rugby public to the sham of media speak on Quade Cooper.”

The Reds flyhalf has been one of the best number 10’s in Australian Super Rugby but he also has a valuable partnership with Reds half back Will Genia which many believe make Cooper the first choice number 10 to face the British and Irish Lions.

Speaking in his column for The Courier-Mail Jones says that Deans is not picking Cooper because of comments last year that the Wallabies camp is a toxic environment under Deans.

Cooper was fined for his comments and has since apologized and even found form this year but has still not been called up for the Wallabies squad to face the Lions.

“Tell it straight that Cooper has missed your 25-man Wallabies squad because you think he’s not good for the team environment,” said Jones in a public memo to Deans.

“The ball is then in Cooper’s court to show he can change,” added Jones.

“So, the best flyhalf in Australia will not face the British and Irish Lions? This is just rubbish when built on the case that he needs to be more assertive in attack and dominant in defence.”

“It means no room for the No.10 who plays every minute of every game; no start for the guy who made three tackles in a row against the Cheetahs last weekend; and no need for the attacker who has made more line breaks than any other top Australian No.10 this season.”

Jones argues that Cooper has shown that he is the best flyhalf in Australian rugby and he is only being left out because he crossed Deans who is holding a grudge against the Reds play maker.

“I’m still scratching my head. Cooper’s understanding of the gain line, of finding space, is far ahead of any other No.10 in Australia so if Deans isn’t picking him, there must be other reasons.

“Deans does not forgive players who cross him. Just ask Andrew Mehrtens and Matt Giteau.”

“I watched the Reds-Cheetahs game closely and Cooper was easily the most enthusiastic and creative player in a misfiring attack.”

“In a rare off game, Will Genia had more loop and spin on his passes than a Shane Warne wrong ‘un yet Cooper continued to attack the gain line playing off poor passes from his halfback.”

“The Wallabies squad looks well-equipped overall with a strong pack, a brilliant halfback and good outside backs. The only problem is that there is no flyhalf.”

Jones adds that Cooper should be the Wallabies starting flyhalf as he is the specialist flyhalf available.

“O’Connor is a part-timer. He is an instinctive runner who looks to use his natural skill rather than build an attack. It’s a huge task pitting his limited experience in the position against the Lions.

“Barnes is an excellent inside centre but at flyhalf he plays far too deep and plays a conservative field position game. He has looked good this season but only in 70-odd minutes of cameos before playing the Rebels last night.”

Deans announced his intial squad last week and will pick a further six players before the Lions series starts and Cooper could be picked in that extra squad of six players.

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