Former England World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward says the decision to leave Quade Cooper out of the Wallabies squad “beggars belief”.
Australian coach Robbie Deans confirmed on the weekend Cooper wouldn’t be one of the six additions to his squad to play the British and Irish Lions in the upcoming three-Test series.
“It is an own goal that has handed the Lions a trump card and just emphasises again how modern coaching – aligned with this obsession with `team ethic’ – has sidelined the more maverick characters,” Woodward wrote in British tabloid the Daily Mail on Monday.
“The Lions did not want to face him (Cooper) and they have got their wish.”
Woodward said Australia was in for a huge battle and needed Cooper’s “x-factor” at fly-half with James O’Connor on the wing and Kurtley Beale at fullback.
“That this will not happen is a true shame for fans but brilliant news for the Lions,” he wrote.
The backline trio of Beale, Digby Ioane and Pat McCabe were among the final six players added to Deans’ 31-man squad on Monday.
Western Force powerhouse Hugh McMeniman will also jostle for a position while the two final places went to Brumbies bolters Scott Sio and Peter Kimlin.
Cooper was reportedly attacked at a Brisbane hotel on Sunday afternoon just hours after being told he would not be part of the squad.