Wallabies set to unleash Cooper

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:00

NEWS: Playmaker Quade Cooper is set to be included in Michael Cheika's Wallaby team for their Rugby Championship Round Two clash against the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday.

Australia are facing a bit of an injury crises in the backline after Matt Giteau, Rob Horne and Matt Toomua all picked up injuries in the 8-42 loss to New Zealand in Sydney last Saturday. They are out of contention.

Matt Giteau picked up a syndesmosis injury, while his replacement, Toomua, suffered a head knock in the same game. Giteau is out for the rest of the Rugby Championship series, while Horne is facing a likely shoulder reconstruction.

Cheika does have the option of Samu Kerevi and rookie Reece Hodge in the midfield, but he will likely go for some more experience against a powerful All Blacks team.

"We'll probably retire the No.12 jersey I think, it's not been a good one so far in this series," Cheika told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"There are a few options we've got there. The possibility of playing the ball runners together with Samu coming in there.

"Or we could ... try and work two playmakers around. Quade's obviously been there or thereabouts in training, Reece Hodge has also put his hand up quite well at training over the last few weeks.

"Quade's someone I'd consider in the team at 10 or 12, or fullback. It's depending on what our situation requires.

"We've lost a few of our regular 12s so we're going to have to do something there that's a little bit different whether it's structure in our play or set-up in our personnel."

Cheika described Saturday's Bledisloe Cup encounter in Wellington as the biggest test of his coaching career.

"A lot of people are going to think the same result is going to happen and I understand that," Cheika said.

"It's up to us to prove otherwise. It's a big stage and it's a big challenge for us because like I said the criticism from the [first Test] performance is very warranted.

"They're feeling pretty terrible about it so we've got to get them back up into a situation where that's driving them to do something better this weekend."

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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