Cooper is playing Russian Roulette with his career
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Suspended Queensland Reds player Quade Cooper carries the water. AAP Image/Dan Peled
Four interesting questions have surfaced since Quade Cooper dropped his extraordinary claim that there’s a “toxic environment” within the Wallabies.
Why did he wait until the Wallabies were in South Africa preparing for Saturday’s clash with the Boks at Loftus, when Cooper was at home injured?
Why hasn’t there been a peep from the Wallabies? There’s been no directive from management. The Wallabies have taken it on themselves to ignore their team-mate.
Why has Cooper dropped his bombshell when he’s still in negotiations with the ARU to renew his contract?
And how could the “toxic environment” Wallabies manage to come from behind twice against the Boks and the Pumas in successive weeks?
The Boks led 13-6 at the break, but the Wallabies won 26-19. The Pumas led 6-3 at half-time and 19-6 deep into the second half, but the Wallabies won 23-19.
Hardly a toxic environment.
There have been 189 Tests for the Wallabies since rugby turned pro in 1996. But only once before in those 16 years have the men-in-gold been behind at half-time and won back-to-back Tests.
Coached by John Connolly and skippered by Stirling Mortlock, the first was in Melbourne in June 2007 against the All Blacks. The Wallabies were behind at the break 15-6 and won 20-15, keeping the men-in-black scoreless in the second half.
The next week in Sydney, the Wallabies trailled 17-10 against the Boks at half-time, and won 26-17. In fact, it was worse than that: the Boks jumped out to a 17-0 lead after 10 minutes and never scored another point.
It would be timely for Nathan Sharpe and Adam Ashley-Cooper to remind their colleagues in Pretoria of those two games, as the only two Wallabies left from 2007 to play next Saturday.
That Springbok Test was also remembered for the last Test on home soil for George Gregan and Stephen Larkham, and for Larkham’s 100th cap.
The point being, Cooper is up the creek without a paddle, all of his own making.
Shades of Matt Giteau’s suicide criticising coach Robbie Deans on Twitter that cost Giteau a Rugby World Cup berth last year, and his Wallaby career.
Clearly the Cooper “toxic” call was dumping on his team mates who have returned the compliment by dumping on him.
The ARU can’t let that call go unnoticed, so that leaves the pending contract up in the air.
It’s doubtful Cooper will be contrite. That’s not on his agenda.
So it’s sink or swim.
At the moment it’s odds-on sink.
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