Toomua eager for Cooper clash
Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:43
it's about testing yourself against the best
Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua is looking forward to testing himself against Quade Cooper, now that the Reds playmaker has been passed fit.
Cooper has declared that is he "100 percent" fit to play the Super Rugby season opener against the Brumbies on Saturday and it is music to the ears of his number one rival for the Wallabies flyhalf position - Matt Toomua.
There was doubt over Cooper's early-season availibility after he injured his neck in the Reds 13-18 loss to the Melbourne Rebels in a warm-up game last week, but he will be fine and the only person happier to hear that than Cooper's teammates might be Toomua himself.
"Yeah of course [I want him to play]," said Toomua.
"First and foremost because I care about his health. You don't like seeing a guy get taken off on a stretcher."
"But it's also about testing yourself against the best," added the 10-times capped Wallaby flyhalf.
The duo have been tussling over a No.10 jersey since their Queensland schoolboys days, and the battle stepped up a notch during last year's Test season when Cooper reclaimed the primary playmaking role from Toomua - who had started the season as Wallabies flyhalf incumbent and finished it at inside centre.
Toomua said that he and Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White want to prove their worth against the experienced Reds halfback combination of Cooper and Will Genia.
"Me and Nic [White] are one of the back-up [Wallabies halfback pairings] so we're trying to push for that selection and trying and prove ourselves.
"I don't want to harp on because it's a team effort, but you're definitely lying if you say you don't," he said.
The Toomua-Cooper battle is one which sees two contrasting styles pitted against one another.
Cooper attracts almost unparalleled media attention through his razzle-dazzle style, while Toomua has built his game around a steady-as-you-go approach that is complemented by a booming right boot and rib-rattling tackles.
Limiting Cooper's influence won't be as simple as shooting up in defence and cutting down his space, according to Toomua.
"You bring a few guys with you and you don't just do it mindlessly.
"[With] guys like Quade and Will [Genia], you can't defend individually because you won't get them - it's got to be within a system.
"We've got a few ideas how we'll do that. It's definitely something that's been spoken about," Toomua added.
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