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End of the road for Cooper?

Mon, 24 Sep 2012 08:49
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It nearly becomes untenable I think, those types of comments within a team
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The silence in the Australian Rugby Union corridors and Wallaby camp has been deafening, but other pundits feel Quade Cooper has effectively announced his "retirement" from Test rugby.

Cooper, in his most controversial series of public outbursts yet, not only criticised the conservative coaching methods and tactics of Robbie Deans, but also described the environment within the Australian team as "toxic".

The controversial 24-year-old, currently sidelined with a knee injury, also attacked the Australian Rugby Union and the Wallabies set-up in a series of weekend Twitter posts.

Cooper criticised Australia's boring playing style, warning the Wallabies would continue to lose fans and Bledisloe Tests against New Zealand with conservative tactics.

Cooper said he was only allowed to play his maverick attacking game in Super Rugby for Queensland and hinted that he might join close friend and All Black Sonny Bill Williams in Australia's National Rugby League next season.

While the ARU and Deans, who is currently in South Africa with the Wallabies, remained silent on the subject so far,  former Australian coach John Connolly said this will make the playmaker's working relationship with Deans close to untenable.

Connolly said the ARU could not afford to ignore Cooper's latest outburst and suggested the flyhalf may have reached a point where it will be difficult to work with Deans, even though Cooper insisted he was "very respectful to Robbie".

"It nearly becomes untenable I think, those types of comments within a team," Connolly told AAP.

"Players will brush it off and say it doesn't mean anything and whatever but it does.

"It's not acceptable to have players going public bagging the coach.

"Whatever the broken relationship is, and there's clearly something wrong, it becomes untenable at that point."

Connolly saw similarities with the breakdown between Deans and another Wallabies playmaker, Matt Giteau, who departed for French rugby last year after his once-leading role dwindled to the point where he was omitted from the 2011 World Cup squad and announced it on Twitter.

Connolly said such falling-outs suggested Deans's man management wasn't all it could be and players had shown a lack of "respect" for their coach by venting frustrations in public.

However, Australia's 2007 World Cup coach, Connolly, believed Australia had more issues than those in the national squad and repeated his calls for a review into the game's structure and administration.

Connolly said the ARU had to respond to Cooper's comments.

"I don't think they can let it rest, there's no doubt," he said.

"They can't just act as though it didn't happen.

"There's a lot of issues that need to be addressed.

"It does affect the code ... the ARU needs to review the situation because there's little doubt that compared to the other codes we're not as good as we were."

Unavailable for the Wallabies' remaining two Tests in the inaugural Rugby Championship with a knee injury, Cooper has agreed a three-year deal with the Queensland Reds but is yet to come to terms with the ARU.

His outburst has re-ignited discussion over his future within Rugby Union.

The New Zealand-born star has long been linked with a switch to Rugby League and Reds Chief Executive Jim Carmichael urged the ARU to sort things out with Cooper.

"The Reds have kept their house tidy. These are in-house issues that have to be dealt between Quade and the Wallabies, not the Reds," Carmichael told AAP.

"There's a lot of issues there.

"They [the ARU] need to reconcile their issues with Quade and Quade has to reconcile his issues with them."

Sources: AAP & AFP

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