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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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10