Genia comes to Cooper's defence

Thu, 23 May 2013 14:09
Large cooper tackles strauss630 Large quade cooper   will genia r Large cooper genia630

Will Genia is backing his halfback partner Quade Cooper to prove that he can handle the defensive pressures of playing flyhalf at the highest level.

Will Genia is backing his halfback partner Quade Cooper to prove that he can handle the defensive pressures of playing flyhalf at the highest level.

The Reds playmaker was left out of Robbie Deans' initial squad for the British and Irish Lions tour, with the Wallaby coach expressing reservations about Cooper's ability to handle the traffic that the visitors are likely to direct down the flyhalf channel.

However, Deans has challenged Cooper to prove him wrong in the coming weeks and earn one of the six vacant spots in the squad by standing his ground on defence.

Cooper has avoided defending in the frontline for both the Reds and the Wallabies in the past, with wing Digby Ioane typically stepping in to cover the inside channel and Cooper lurking in a deeper position in order to take advantage of his "counter-attacking abilities".

While this arrangement was good enough for Deans at the 2011 World Cup and beyond, he has since changed his mind and has asked the elusive pivot to show that he can defend like a traditional flyhalf in the coming weeks.

While Genia stopped short of confirming to this website that Cooper will defend the flyhalf channel against the Stormers on Saturday, it would appear that he has no other option if he would like to play a Test against the Lions.

Genia admitted that he was disappointed that his halfback partner has been snubbed by Deans, but pointed out that Cooper has been given the chance to show that he is capable of changing his game.

"The selectors have gone with who they think can do the job, it is disappointing as a mate and as a friend, but I think the best thing is that Robbie [Deans] has outlined very much what he wants Quade to do and get better at so he can put his case forward for selection in that last six.

"My fingers are crossed that Quadey works hard to do those things so that he can be there.

"I absolutely back him to get there. He has been playing exceptionally well for us thus far this season," said Genia.

Cooper has three games for the Reds to show that he can handle the pressure of defending at flyhalf, with the game at Newlands followed by a potential showdown with the Rebels' James O'Connor, who Deans has handed the Wallaby role to, before the Queensland side take on the Lions in their first tour match.

If Cooper can handle the torrent of one-off runners that the Stormers are sure to steer in his direction on Saturday then it could well make Deans sit up and take note.

By Michael de Vries

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19