After some stunning performances in the early rounds of the 2019 Super Rugby season, former Australian playmaker, Quade Cooper, appears to be in line for a recall to the Wallabies squad. In fact, Cooper has recently been added to a Wallabies squad camp in Sydney, firming his chances for a recall before the World Cup in Tokyo later this year.
A career in free fall
In late 2017, Quade Cooper’s professional career appeared almost over. The mercurial playmaker was informed by new coach, Brad Thorn, that his services would no longer be required at the Queensland Reds. He played most of the 2018 rugby year for Souths Rugby Club in Brisbane.
However, the star playmaker was thrown a lifeline by the Melbourne Rebels in the form of a one-year contract for the 2019 Super Rugby season. And his first few outings with the Rebels have been quite exceptional.
Cooper-Genia combination returns
It was Cooper’s seamless combination with former Reds halfback, Will Genia that was instrumental in the Queensland Reds winning their maiden Super Rugby title in 2011. It remains the club’s only Super Rugby title. Cooper has assumed control of the Rebels’ attack this year, leading them to an undefeated 3-0 start and top position in the Australian conference.
What has been crucial to their success this year, like in the past, is their ability to set up try-scoring opportunities through their outside backs. Jack Maddocks, who sits on the wing, has already posted five tries from three games, whilst Tom English has three tries to his name this season already. There is no doubt that Maddocks and English are benefiting from the Cooper-Genia combination.
Cheika is watching
While critics of Cooper will refer to his inconsistencies and mistakes on the field (which have not entirely left his game), there is no doubt under-fire Wallabies’ coach, Michael Cheika, is watching. Cheika is known to be fond of Cooper’s flair and attacking style, however, the Wallabies coach has often lamented Cooper’s inability to take opportunities in the gold jersey with both hands.
With Foley by no means a lock, there is definitely an opening for Cooper to make a remarkable return. The question is, can he seize the opportunity?