Cooper welcome in Wallaby camp

Wed, 26 Sep 2012 17:16

Wallaby coach Robbie Deans says controversial flyhalf Quade Cooper would be welcome to return to the Australian squad.

Deans refrained from commenting on Cooper’s Twitter tirade, in which the injured playmaker criticised Deans’ conservative game plan and labelled the Wallaby set-up “toxic”, but said he still supports the outspoken 24-year-old.

"Absolutely," Deans answered when asked whether Cooper would be welcomed back into the Wallaby frame.

"We care about our players," he said.

"You're only young once and you only get this opportunity in the game once and we want the best for all of them."

Deans said he would be happy to meet with Cooper and discuss his concerns.

"Robust conversation is a critical part of the game," Deans said.
The New Zealand-born coach said the Cooper situation has not distracted the squad as they prepare for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against South Africa.

"There hasn't been any distractions for the group to be fair and I'd rather not comment," Deans said.

Prop Benn Robinson, who is in line to win his 50th Test cap on Saturday, said there’s a sense of upliftment in the squad.

"The time that we've spent here, it's really brought the team together," Robinson said.

"Spending the extra few days here has created a very strong environment and it's reflected in our training and just the general feel around the squad."