Beale defends 'humble' Cooper
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Wallaby star Kurtley Beale has come to the defence of discarded Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper.
Beale told the Sydney Morning Herald that Cooper is "a great guy" who’s "very humble and very grounded".
Beale questioned the decision to drop Cooper to club rugby, with his ability to break a game open one of the best in the game.
“There’s something going on up there,” Beale said.
“He’s one of the biggest game-breakers in the game and it’d be silly for him not to have a club this year because, with his talent, he could be the difference between winning and losing.
“I’m sure they’ll be able to work something out over there. I’ve always wished him all the best and I’m sure he’ll pick up something. I’ve seen over his social media, he’s one of the best trainers in the game.”
Thorn explained to media that the decision to drop Cooper was based on form, saying the flyhalf “struggled” last year with all aspects of the game. He had the most handling errors of any first-five in the competition last year with 29, turning the ball over 26 times.
His touch and timing on attack last year seemed inconsistent, throwing a number of forward-passes and dropping the ball cold too often. At times his brilliance showed, setting up a number of breaks. How a player so gifted could still make the most basic of errors is an enigma Thorn wasn’t looking to solve.
Beale praised his character, refuting he has an attitude problem.
“Quade’s a great guy, he’s very humble and he’s very grounded,” Beale said.
“He’s got a great view on the game and sometimes that may clash with other views of the game. That’s pretty special to have someone that can see the game differently to others and sometimes that may not just work out.
“Sometimes things don’t always pan out the way they’re meant to be and I’m sure when he gets an opportunity, hopefully, this year with a team, he’ll be the difference between winning and losing.
Former Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell publicly criticised the decision at the time, stating Australia doesn’t have to depth to dropping players with the experience of Cooper. He is since happy that Thorn has addressed the situation in public.
“Whoever snaps him up will get a player that has a huge amount of experience and has a great work ethic … it’d be a shame if we don’t see him playing in Australia,” Mitchell said.
“He’s still got a lot to give. For the moment, it’s not going to be at the Reds."