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, 27 November 2015
Leinster v Ulster 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Edinburgh v Dragons 19h35 BT Murrayfield
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 19h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 28 November 2015
Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 15h00 Sandy Park
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Saracens v Worcester Warriors 15h15 Twickenham
Munster v Connacht 17h15 Thomond Park
London Irish v Wasps 17h30 Twickenham
Sun, 29 November 2015
Scarlets v Zebre 14h30 Parc y Scarlets
Leicester Tigers v Bath 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26