Cooper in Christchurch spotlight

Mon, 15 Jul 2013 18:59
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Quade Cooper’s return to Christchurch will add extra spice to Saturday’s Super Rugby play-off between the Crusaders and the Reds.

Quade Cooper’s return to Christchurch will add extra spice to Saturday’s Super Rugby play-off between the Crusaders and the Reds.

The Reds and Wallaby flyhalf was public enemy number one during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand due to his well-documented rivalry with Crusaders and All Black captain Richie McCaw.

McCaw, who made his comeback in a club game at the weekend, will be available for selection after being cleared by SANZAR, and the possible renewing of this heated rivalry has Australasian fans champing at the bit ahead of the clash at AMI Stadium.    

Cooper, an all-round controversial figure following his criticism of former Wallaby coach Robbie Deans and the “toxic” environment within the Australian camp, knows he's in for a hostile welcome in his first match in Christchurch since making his debut as an 18-year-old replacement.

"I expect that every week, nothing changes," Cooper told AAP on Monday. "That's part and parcel of rivalries in rugby and I have got a great rivalry with the Crusaders as a team.
"I'm sure that rivalry will add to the occasion."

Cooper and Reds Director of Rugby Ewen McKenzie said they are confident about downing the Crusaders in Christchurch despite being considered underdogs.

The Brisbane side eked out a rusty 14-12 over the Waratahs at the weekend in their first match after the Wallabies’ series loss to the British and Irish Lions.

McKenzie, however, was unconcerned that his team may be undercooked and expected Saturday’s match will bring out the best in his side.
"There's a good rivalry and both teams bring the best out of the other," McKenzie said.
"We handle on-the-road stuff pretty well, we've handled the Kiwi teams alright, we've done pretty well against the Crusaders - there's a lot of things we can look at and say there's plenty of reasons for confidence."
McKenzie noted that the Crusaders have shown vast improvement on attack since the June Test window but he backed his team’s defence and said they would be in the Crusaders’ faces.  
"They've found a rich vein of form. They'll be playing with a lot of confidence but we have to take them out of the confidence zone,” McKenzie said.
"You have to have a good attack and a good defence. They've got it and I think we've got it too so it makes a pretty potent match."

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Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4