Cooper vigilant of Foley factor
SUPER RUGBY NEWS: Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper labelled his duel with Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley as 'healthy rivalry' ahead of their Super Rugby match in Round 10.
Cooper and Foley have been playing alongside each other for Australia under head coach Michael Cheika, but coming Saturday the pair will be on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Both will be eager to stamp their authority on the game and prove who is worthy of wearing the number 10 jumper for Australia.
"We have played alongside each other for a while, so there is always going to be a healthy rivalry, " Cooper said.
"Everyone wants to start for [Australia], but now it is about my role for the Reds.
"The personal dual is a thing that is always at the back of your mind," he added.
Cooper has praised Foley's leadership and communication prowess and advised his side to isolate the pivot this coming Saturday.
"Foley has been the cornerstone of their attack, obviously with Kurtley Beale being there over the past few years - those two have had a good combination.
"It's been a little bit different not having [Beale] there so more is falling on [Foley's] shoulders.
"He's a great threat in terms of his running game, he's a good communicator in what I've had to do with him.
"If we can stop the ball by him, it means that Israel Folau doesn’t get the ball. And that's going to put us in a good position," he explained.
Reds head into the clash fresh from a bye week. The side have only managed to win two of their eight matches thus far but found themselves second in the Australian Conference.
Cooper believes that a win against the Waratahs - who suffered a humiliating 24-26 defeat against the Kings - can launch their bid to gain the top spot.
"We have to focus on playing well, winning, and continuing to do that.
“We cannot afford to be complacent.
" We have to go into this match well-prepared and leave no stone unturned and hopefully get the victory.
"Our next four games, we face three Australians teams [and the Chiefs away], so we have a pretty good chance to go top of the Australian conference,"