Quade eyes veldt success in South Africa - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Quade eyes veldt success in South Africa

By Jim Morton 11/08/2010 06:57:03 PM Comments (0)

Frustrated playmaker Quade Cooper believes the Wallabies can still salvage plenty from the Tri-Nations by ending a 47-year drought on South Africa's high veldt.

Cooper will make his return from suspension in the August 28 clash with the Springboks in Pretoria where a rare victory at altitude would enable Australia to regain the Mandela Trophy.

Australia haven't won on the veldt since 1963 when John Thornett's team snuck away with an 11-9 upset at Johannesburg's Ellis Park.

This Tri-Nations they have back-to-back chances to break the drought with the following weekend's clash to be played in Bloemfontein.

It's an opportunity Cooper, unlikely to be risked in club rugby this weekend, says the Wallabies are savouring.

The 22-year-old on Wednesday underlined the importance of such success to the progress of Robbie Deans' young team 13 months out from the World Cup.

"We've got two tough games in South Africa and we can look at them and think we haven't won in Pretoria in 60 years, or something ridiculous, and we overcome that and tick that box and then make a new challenge," the key five-eighth told AAP.

"We have to keep ticking the boxes.

"And what more can you look forward too - playing the current world champions on their home soil on their best parks."

In fact, the Wallabies have never won at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld, which stands as their biggest hoodoo venue in world rugby.

It was there that Greg Smith's coaching tenure was effectively terminated in 1997 when a team made up of many who went on to lift the 1999 World Cup was smashed 61-22.

Cooper is desperate to get back on the field following a two-match ban for a dangerous tackle in the 30-13 Suncorp Stadium triumph over the Boks which cost him the chance of playing the All Blacks for the first time.

He was a frustrated spectator as New Zealand won 49-28 in Melbourne and 20-10 in Christchurch with Matt Giteau calling the shots at No.10.

"It's been very hard to sit on the sidelines especially when you get beaten by your most fierce opposition," said the NZ-born Queenslander.

"It seems to be just one game that always gets away from me - the All Blacks."

Despite a desire to make an immediate return, Deans is reluctant to risk his red-hot playmaker on Saturday when his Brisbane club, Souths, is virtually out of finals contention.

"He's big on going back and playing for your club (but) at the same time if it's a nothing game and we're not in the hunt for making the finals it's a risk not worth taking," Cooper said.

NZ have all but wrapped up the Tri-Nations trophy but Australia can take the No.2 world ranking off the Springboks with rare away victories.

"The improvement from Melbourne to Christchurch was phenomenal and if we can improve again from Christchurch to Pretoria that's a step and then the following week in Bloemfontein," Cooper said.

"If we can keep chipping away the time we're on the end of year tour we'll be on the right track."

Winger Peter Hynes (knee) is one Wallabies back to make his return in clubland on Saturday, playing for GPS against Sunshine Coast, in order to prove his fitness for the trip to Africa.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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