Cooper 'sweet' for Springboks return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cooper 'sweet' for Springboks return

By David Beniuk 26/08/2010 07:24:01 PM Comments (0)

Still undecided about his future, Wallabies linchpin Quade Cooper has broken his silence in South Africa to declare his headspace "sweet" for Saturday's (0100 Sunday AEST) Tri-Nations showdown with the Springboks.

Cooper, who is wrestling with a decision on whether to jump codes and join NRL club Parramatta, will return to five-eighth at Loftus Versfeld after a two-match ban for a dangerous tackle in the only change to Australia's run-on side.

The 22-year-old has played some stellar rugby through plenty of potential off-field distractions before and says this time will be no different as he mulls over a deal with the Eels reportedly worth more than $500,000 a season.

"I feel real good," he said.

"Having two weeks off was in some ways a good thing for the body, just getting a bit of extra time to freshen up and then get ready.

"That was the biggest key for me ... but headspace, I'm sweet.

"When you get out on the field nothing else can really bother you or get to you because that's your time and your space.

"Some people like to read a book and just really chill out. I love to get out there and play some footy."

The Australian Rugby Union had hoped to lock Cooper into a deal covering at least next year's Rugby World Cup before the Wallabies left for the two-match tour of the Republic, but their hottest property is still weighing up his options.

"I'm still undecided, my future's still uncertain," he said.

"It's about these two games and all I can control is playing well in these games, doing my best for the Wallabies and for my team-mates."

With ARU boss John O'Neill due to arrive in South Africa before Saturday's Test, Cooper said he was listening to advice about his career but the decision would ultimately be his alone.

"What you get from the boys is always to do what's best for you and they respect that," he said.

"In terms of speaking to my best mates ... I definitely value their opinions.

"Then you've got to speak to the likes of your Mum and Dad and family members because it's not just about yourself in these sorts of things."

In the meantime, he's enduring some playful jibes from his Wallabies team-mates.

"The boys are ripping in, probably it's no more than what they would to James (O'Connor) about looking like Justin Bieber," he said.

"If I score a try at training, (it's) get the Quade Plane out and stuff like that."

Cooper said being a spectator for Australia's two losses to the All Blacks, at home with friends and family for the Christchurch Test, had been "emotional".

For now, he is primed to make amends in Pretoria after two previous Super rugby losses there with Queensland, including the nightmare 92-3 humiliation in 2007.

"Not the best record but third time lucky is the saying that everyone likes to use," he said.

"Hopefully that's a bit of an omen that I can take into this game."

Australia: Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Richard Brown, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom (capt), Nathan Sharpe, Dean Mumm, Salesi Ma'afu, Saia Faingaa, Benn Robinson. Res: Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Ben McCalman, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Burgess, Berrick Barnes, Anthony Faingaa.

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