Cooper ready for Wallabies: Mooney - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cooper ready for Wallabies: Mooney

By Laine Clark 22/09/2008 07:29:11 PM Comments (0)

There is a cruel segment on YouTube that shows a montage of Queensland Reds five-eighth Quade Cooper's mistakes in a 2007 Super 14 shocker - all set to the Benny Hill theme.

It's enough to do any player's head in - especially one who was still only a teenager at the time.

The fact that Cooper - who only turned 20 in April - bounced back from his Waikato debacle is impressive.

But Reds coach Phil Mooney reckons Cooper's new-found mental toughness would reach another level if selected on the Wallabies' upcoming spring tour.

In a sign of Cooper's amazing progress, the Reds playmaker's name is being thrown around before Tuesday's spring tour squad announcement.

Mooney licked his lips at the prospect of his budding match-winner playing under Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

"Quade is a real student of the game. Should he be selected, he would eat up anything Robbie Deans gave him - he's got a real thirst for rugby," he said.

"There would be benefits from just training with them (Wallabies) every day.

"There's no doubt he would come back a more complete player."

Cooper, who featured for Australia in June's Under 20s World Cup in Wales, is in the spring tour mix as Deans looks to add depth to his inside backs.

Even if Cooper misses the tour cut, Mooney believed his young playmaker should be proud of what he had achieved since that fateful 2007 Super 14 game at Hamilton that reduced the teenager to tears.

"He's still only 20 and he's had a lot thrust on him at a very early age," he said.

"You've got to remember he's played more Super 14 rugby than club rugby - and he's been the chief playmaker.

"Physically he has matured and mentally he is a lot more mature.

"The most pleasing thing from our point of view is that he has gotten better over time, which shows he is learning lessons.

"He is heading in the right direction."

Mooney said Cooper had overcome a hip injury he carried through the Super 14 season and forced him to miss the Reds' recent development tour.

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