Wallabies not distracted by Cooper saga

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    Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe says his team’s focus is on the remaining two games of their European tour and not the latest controversy surrounding Quade Cooper.

    Sharpe said it would be great for rugby if Cooper stayed.

    But that seems unlikely with speculation rife Cooper will quit the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) as early as next week with the Khoder Nasser-managed player set to pursue a boxing career.

    Although Cooper is a close friend of another Nasser client in boxer-footballer Sonny Bill Williams, he has never spoken seriously about a desire to box before.

    It’s still unknown if the move to boxing is legitimate or just a ploy to garner a better top-up contract from the ARU.

    Sharpe said Cooper’s actions didn’t impact on the team and they were focused on Tests against Italy on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) in Florence and Wales a week later in Cardiff.

    “Quade’s a tremendous footballer. He’s a guy that brings a lot of panache to any team he plays for … what he does is going to be a decision that he comes to. I don’t know the internal workings of it all but it would be great for rugby if he stays in the game,” Sharpe told AAP in Florence.

    “Every player goes through their own contract negotiations in different ways and, obviously, Quade’s is pretty public.

    “In terms of the impact on the team, we’ve had a really good internal focus on how we deal with that …

    “I think we saw with the (‘toxic environment’) comments that were made while we were in South Africa, we bounced back from that well and focused really well. We had a good performance in Argentina and then against New Zealand in Brisbane, so I’m not concerned about that.”

    Neither the ARU nor QRU had been informed by Cooper or his agent that he intended walking away from his three-year Super Rugby deal with the Reds which would take him through to the 2015 World Cup.

    This latest drama surrounding the five-eighth comes after the ARU offered him a low-grade incentive-based deal for 2013.

    The offer has been tabled in the past fortnight, since the 24-year-old was slugged with a $40,000 fine for his criticism of the Wallabies, telling AAP in September the national team housed a “toxic environment”.

    He’d originally failed to sign off on a more-significant ARU deal that was first put to him in July after he re-signed with the Reds.

    QRU boss Jim Carmichael and Reds’ coach Ewen McKenzie have consistently stated their confidence that the star playmaker would remain at Ballymore in 2013.

    The story of Cooper leaving rugby came a couple of days after the Wallabies shored up coach Robbie Deans’s position for next year with a stoic 20-14 win over England at Twickenham.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • November 20th 2012 @ 10:31am
      mania said | November 20th 2012 @ 10:31am | ! Report

      what nathan sharpe actually said was “quade who?”

      • November 20th 2012 @ 6:39pm
        AndyS said | November 20th 2012 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

        Funny that it was Sharpe (of all people) that they asked. Can’t help but wonder whether his internal response was something along the lines of “Suck it up princess, if you were half as good as you think you’d back yourself to make it impossible for them to leave you out. They might even make you captain…”

    • November 20th 2012 @ 6:24pm
      Roarsome said | November 20th 2012 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

      Yeah, Sharpe doesn’t know what it’s like to be loyal to Queensland. He left for Perth chasing money and trophies. Cooper bought fans and success to the reds. The Wallabies results are clear evidence that there’s something wrong. Why are there always so many Tah’s in the Wallabies side. NSW have been below average for a few years now.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

      • November 20th 2012 @ 10:24pm
        Ra said | November 20th 2012 @ 10:24pm | ! Report

        why do you think all that is the way it is?

      • November 20th 2012 @ 10:24pm
        Ra said | November 20th 2012 @ 10:24pm | ! Report

        why do you think all that is the way it is?

      • Roar Rookie

        November 21st 2012 @ 12:33am
        Neuen said | November 21st 2012 @ 12:33am | ! Report

        Be glad that you don’t have provincialism in your rugby. Ask the Saffers the problem it can create. Nothing wrong with more money on club level as long as you don’t do it at International level.

    • November 21st 2012 @ 12:27am
      Roarsome said | November 21st 2012 @ 12:27am | ! Report

      I think the style of the Wallabies play is almost mirroring the old Northern Hemisphere conservative approach which is relatively predictable and relatively simple to defend against. The attack is lackluster and while there is the traditional focus on territory and possession, the players are failing to execute the game plan effectively. No doubt the All Blacks have changed the way the game is played with tough and uncompromising defense and an expansive running attack (world cup semi’s excluded). We don’t have the ability or plan to match and try to contain them with or conservative approach, which the Tah’s have used against bigger teams. The heart of the reds combination during 2011 had the ability to to attack and we had the ball playing forwards to suit that style and made the territory to allow it to happen. We don’t have the forwards to make territory on an international level and the expansive attack of Cooper doesn’t suit the traditional style of play. The conservative approach hasn’t worked as yet though as Barnes and co develop thhe might warm to the role. Most can’t single handedly change a match though like Cooper can and yes, there is good with the bad. He’s paid for his mouth and now he’s paying for the World Cup Semi which we wouldn’t have made without him. The game will be poorer without him if he leaves. Then administration however will be relieved. Cooper obviously doesn’t agree with the style of play implemented by Deans, a style that is a far cry from the expansive Reds play that saw them become Super Rugby champs and one of the most exciting teams in the world to watch. Unfortunately for Quade, he is young and silly and voiced his opinion in a public forum. Unfortunately for the fans, the ARU would see a major drawcard leave the game despite his obvious talent.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

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