Quade says he’s ready to rumble

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    Quade Cooper copped a smack on the chops six days earlier than he expected in his rugby return at Toowoomba Sports Ground.

    But the controversial Queensland Reds playmaker declared himself ready to start the Super Rugby season in peak fitness after surviving his only pre-season trial against a Blues outfit littered with bruising “super-heavyweights” on Saturday night.

    Cooper looked sharp as he got through 60 minutes in the Reds’ 41-35 victory over the young and physical Aucklanders who showed they would be a handful in 2013 under Sir John Kirwan.

    With his boxing debut against Barry Dunnett scheduled for Friday night – the same time as the Reds’ final trial against the Chiefs – the 38-Test five-eighth could well be underdone for the opening round clash with the Brumbies on February 16.

    But he stressed he’d be in top shape for the Canberra visit where he’s certain to be targeted by former schoolmate and Wallabies flanker David Pocock.

    “We’re building well towards that and I feel really fit and healthy,” Cooper said. “I got through that game without too many knocks.

    “I got a bit of a bruise on the lip but I’m sure I’ll be getting one next Friday as well.”

    Queensland were forced to come from 14-0 down early as the big Blues – described by Cooper as super-heavyweights – won the gain line battle early before the Reds played more direct and maintained possession to put on a five-try burst.

    But Kirwan’s side, missing all their All Blacks, stormed back late through destructive winger Lolagi Visinia who set up one try, running over Cooper in the process, and scored another.

    Cooper praised the 40-minute performances of Ben Lucas and Nick Frisby, a second-half stand-out, who are vying for the No.9 jersey left vacant by Will Genia.

    Trial skipper Anthony Faingaa will undergo X-rays on a suspected broken hand on Monday but coach Ewen McKenzie played down concerns of a midfield reshuffle.

    “Those sort of things you can have problems but you just strap them up and get out there,” McKenzie said. “He’s a pretty tough rooster so we’re not worried about it.”

    The Reds are hopeful captain James Horwill will make his long-awaited return from hamstring surgery on Friday night against the Super Rugby champions at the Sunshine Coast.

    They already have Wallabies Dom Shipperley, Saia Faingaa and Rob Simmons preparing to make their first 2013 appearances while No.8 front-runner Jake Schatz is also expected to return from shoulder surgery.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • February 4th 2013 @ 3:57am
      Hightackle said | February 4th 2013 @ 3:57am | ! Report

      Quade is ready to rumble?
      Why is McCaw pinned in the ruck helpless?

    • February 4th 2013 @ 6:31am
      Justin2 said | February 4th 2013 @ 6:31am | ! Report

      he can’t win, regardless.

    • February 4th 2013 @ 6:44am
      mania said | February 4th 2013 @ 6:44am | ! Report

      well hope he boxes better than he plays rugby.

      • February 4th 2013 @ 8:21am
        Justin2 said | February 4th 2013 @ 8:21am | ! Report

        Yeah he is a crap rugby player 🙁

        • February 4th 2013 @ 8:24am
          mania said | February 4th 2013 @ 8:24am | ! Report

          he’s inconsistent. brilliance coupled with ineptitude.

          • February 4th 2013 @ 3:42pm
            jameswm said | February 4th 2013 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

            In 2011 it was a heap more brilliance than ineptitude. In fact there was very little of the latter and a lot of the former.

            No one in Australia can run a backline like him, so I’ll give him some leeway to get going in 2013.

            I’m more worried about our forward pack getting going, and Deans or Cheika working out how to use their runners – not just the obvious once off hitup by Cliffy in the centres off a lineout.

            If the forward pack gets going, then Quade, Leali’ifano, Foley or whoever is behind the Tah/WB pack will go fine. I’m not saying the Tah pack is the WB pack (though it wasn’t far off last year), but they’re the two teams I’m worried about.

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