Beale v Cooper clash 'a crowd puller' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Beale v Cooper clash 'a crowd puller'

By Darren Walton 05/03/2009 08:35:29 PM Comments (0)

Queensland coach Phil Mooney says the mouth-watering five-eighth duel between Super 14 young guns Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale at the SFS on Friday night will be worth the admission price alone.

Mooney believes the clash of the two former schoolboy teammates and rivals shapes as a key to the annual interstate showdown, while Wallabies great Mark Ella says Beale is under added pressure to outpoint Cooper and steer the Waratahs to victory.

"It's been well-documented over the last three or four years they've been the outstanding young talents coming through in Australian rugby," Mooney said on Thursday.

"Kurtley obviously dominated schoolboy rugby down here and Quade did the same up in Brisbane and they came through the same Australian schoolboy sides and they've now been pitted against each other at Super 14 level for three years.

"They're both wonderful talents and sometimes you have to stand back and remember that they're both 20 and 21 and running teams around the park. And the way they do is quite mind-blowing.

"That contest tomorrow will be worth turning up for."

Ella, an unabashed fan of both young playmakers, says the stage is set for Beale after Cooper leapfrogged the Waratahs ace in the Test pecking order with his eye-catching displays on the Wallabies' European tour last November.

"Kurtley has had three years now with the Waratahs and is finally developing into a better No.10 in terms of directing the Waratahs around the field," Ella said.

"It's taken him a little while to develop and I think under (new coach) Chris (Hickey) he'll be a better footballer for it.

"Quade, I'm pretty excited about the way he plays. He definitely has a go. There's no doubt about it.

"Outside of Matt Giteau, if we had to look at potential other (Test) five-eighths now, probably Quade would get the nod.

"Therefore, it's going to be a good challenge for Kurtley to step up. He missed out on the tour last year through injury, so there's a lot riding on this game for Kurtley to actually show that he's better or can certainly match Quade and probably come out on top.

"It is interesting. It is probably a challenge for both five-eighths to emerge victorious."

Beale agrees there is no finer time to impress than in a NSW versus Queensland derby.

"Because this game is pumped up and you're playing against some of your mates, it's always good to get over the top of your mates, especially in the battle of rugby union," he said.

"It's going to be an exciting clash."

NSW captain Phil Waugh is backing Beale to deliver, saying the 20-year-old had taken his play to a new level since overcoming an ankle injury and shedding several kilos over the off-season.

"He's a hugely important player for us," Waugh said.

"Since his injury, he's come back and worked really hard to get his spot and become a more senior player than perhaps he was last year.

"I can't speak highly enough of Kurtley. He's developing not only as a player but as a person.

"He's really matured into that role of No.10 and running the team."

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