Cooper opts for square ring over oval ball

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 08:52

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Wallaby playmaker Quade Cooper will once again spend a Super Rugby pre-season in the boxing ring, rather than training with the oval ball.

Cooper, one of Queensland's biggest drawcards, is the returning Red this season after a stint with cash-flush French club Toulon.

However, his return to the Reds set-up won't happen till just before the Super Rugby season starts.

It has been confirmed the flyhalf won't be lining up at the Brisbane 10s next month.

The mercurial playmaker has been listed to fight on the undercard of the Anthony Mundine versus Danny Green bout in February.

Reds coach Nick Stiles has opted for a relatively inexperienced squad for the two-day 10-a-side tournament.

The squad features five capped Wallabies, 20 players with previous Super Rugby experience and six uncapped Reds squad members.

The Wallabies include James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Samu Kerevi, Leroy Houston and wildcard inclusion Chris Latham - a legend of both Queensland and Australian.
 
Stiles said the Reds were looking forward to finally taking the field in a match situation, after months of pre-season training.
 
"The 10s is an important moment in our pre-season preparations for Super Rugby," the coach said.

"Not only is it an opportunity for us to put into action what we've been training since last year, but it is also a chance to demonstrate to our fans the hard work we've put in to ensure we're a better side in 2017," Stiles added.
 
"We've also got a 15-a-side trial match against the Melbourne Rebels two days after the tournament, so we've looked at the 10s and that match as two opportunities to give the whole squad some game time before the Super Rugby season starts.
 
"With the 10s squad, we felt it was important to have a balance of some of our more seasoned players, while also giving the young guys some reward for all their hard work. They've been training incredibly hard since the conclusion of last year's Super Rugby season and now get the chance to showcase what they're capable of on the field against some seriously tough opposition."
 
The Queensland Reds have been drawn in Pool B, alongside the Blues and Crusaders from New Zealand and Samoa.
 
"It's a difficult pool, but that should benefit us in our pre-season preparations as all three teams are physical and like to move the ball around and that will provide us with a good challenge ahead of Super Rugby," Stiles said.
 
The Brisbane 10s features all 10 professional franchises from Australia and New Zealand, along with French powerhouse Toulon, Japanese Top League side Wild Knights, the Bulls from South Africa and the Samoan national team.
 
Reds squad: James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Sef Fa'agase, Sam Talakai, Alex Mafi, Andrew Ready, Rob Simmons, Cadeyrn Neville, Lukhan Tui, Izack Rodda, Michael Gunn, Adam Korczyk, Leroy Houston, James Tuttle, Moses Sorovi, Jake McIntyre, Duncan Paia'aua, Henry Teafu, Samu Kerevi, Eto Nabuli, Lachlan Maranta, Chris Kuridrani, Brad Lacey, Karmichael Hunt, Jayden Ngamanu, Chris Latham.

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