Quade Cooper set to start for Australia against SA

Australia head coach Michael Cheika looks set to name Quade Cooper as his starting flyhalf for their Rugby Championship opener against South Africa’s Springboks.

Cheika has given Cooper a glowing endorsement at flyhalf as the race for the starting number 10 jersey hots up.

Cooper has recovered from a shoulder injury that saw him miss much of the Super Rugby season but showed glimpses of great form in the few matches he has played in.

Former Waratahs coach Cheika has favoured Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley in the past but at Wallabies practice sessions Cooper has been lining up in the flyhalf role and partnering with with Matt Giteau and Matt Toomua at inside centre.

“I’ve been really, really pleased with what he’s done so far,” said Cheika about Cooper in Brisbane.

“A lot of good energy, a lot of good communication from him in organising troops around him.”

“We’ve got a lot of different combinations we can play — today he was playing with Matty Toomua next to him, he could be playing with Giteau next to him like he did on Friday.”

“It’s probably maybe just having a look and seeing who’s playing best together,” the coach told Reuters.

Cooper an almost permanent fixture alongside Will Genia in the Wallabies line up two seasons ago but last year the Waratahs duo of Foley and scrumhalf Nick Phipps took over.

Genia has since signed to play for French club Stade Francais while Cooper has agreed terms with Toulon but could still stay in Australia and play sevens for Australia at the Rio Olympics next year.

Cooper’s future remains unsettled but the player says that he is in no hurry to make a final decision on where he will be playing next year.

“I’m very focused on the Wallabies right now,” he told reporters.

“The future is the future and the past is the past.”

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