Cooper is still in the running

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 09:04
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Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said he hasn't ruled flyhalf Quade Cooper out of his squad to face the British and Irish Lions.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said he hasn't ruled flyhalf Quade Cooper out of his squad to face the British and Irish Lions.

Cooper had a mixed game in the Reds' 33-20 win over the Melbourne Rebels, but eventually scored the clinching try as the Reds bonus-point victory in Brisbane.

For an hour Cooper could do little right in his head-to-head battle with James O'Connor for the flyhalf place, conceding two tries when his clearing kicks were charged down and missing two easy shots at goal.

But the Reds came from 20-18 down, scoring two tries in the final 11 minutes.

Cooper gave his chances of a spot in this month's Test series against the Lions a boost when he reached out and scored with a one-handed put down on the try-line in the 69th minute.

"Quade did some very good things and he did some things that he wouldn't have been so pleased about as well," Deans told reporters.

Deans wouldn't be drawn on whether Cooper had the better of O'Connor, who he has hinted will be the starting pivot for the first Test in Brisbane on June 22.

Asked about O'Connor's effort against Cooper on Saturday, Deans said: "It wasn't the complete performance."

Deans will be at Friday's Super Rugby match between the Brumbies and Rebels in Canberra and the Reds-Lions match in Brisbane the following night.

Six players will be added to the Wallabies squad on June 11, giving Cooper one more chance to stake his claim.

AFP

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