Nervous Ashley-Cooper looks to rebound - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Nervous Ashley-Cooper looks to rebound

By David Beniuk 29/08/2008 05:46:09 AM Comments (0)

Sitting on the sideline during last weekend's breakthrough win by the Wallabies made Adam Ashley-Cooper very nervous.

Nursing a broken hand back to health robbed the fullback of a chance to be a part of Australia breaking their South African drought, and on top of that he was forced to watch Drew Mitchell slot in seamlessly at No.15.

"If I was in Drew Mitchell's position and I'd come in and replaced an injured fullback and performed the way he did, I'd expect to retain that position," Ashley-Cooper said.

But the Brumbies back is a certainty to be named to make his return against the Springboks in Johannesburg this Saturday, having been brought on this Tri-Nations trip expressly for that purpose.

"(I've been) nervous because of a couple of things," he said.

"One is because you become a little bit rusty, you lose all the skill aspects. I wasn't allowed to catch a ball for two or three weeks, I wanted to but the doc just wouldn't let me.

"Also, two, you can't train with the guys, you feel left out so you're running up and down the sideline doing fitness while they're together playing competitive games and training games.

"And three, obviously, with them playing football and you're not, you're sitting on the side feeling useless really. And obviously with such a great win you couldn't feel part of it and it was upsetting."

While his Wallaby team-mates got their chances to make amends for the one blemish on their 2008 copybook, the loss to the All Blacks in Auckland, Ashley-Cooper will get his at Ellis Park.

"I wasn't happy with my performance (in Auckland)," he said.

"The All Blacks applied a lot of pressure in my area at fullback so I basically couldn't do anything with that.

"I felt pretty much useless so I'll be looking to go out there and definitely make the most of it, I suppose come back from that New Zealand Test."

In the Test before that, though, he produced one of his best performances, memorably bringing down Rodney So'oialo moments after copping a head knock tackling Sitiveni Sivivatu.

"I was out for 10 or 15 seconds. I thought I got up straight away but the footage showed that I was having a breather," Ashley-Cooper said.

"I remember getting up and the doctor saying 'are you all right' and I said 'I'm all right' and I remember him saying 'you've got to go', push, and he pushed me to the other side of the field and then I had So'oialo to deal with."

Once touted as an ideal outside centre, Ashley-Cooper is starting to think of himself as a fullback.

"I suppose performing well at fullback in the last couple of games, I suppose the Sydney Test was the highlight, it changes that opinion," he said.

"When you play well at Test football in a certain position you start to enjoy that position."

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