Elsom backs Quade Cooper return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elsom backs Quade Cooper return

By David Beniuk 27/08/2010 07:56:26 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies skipper Rocky Elsom has backed returning five-eighth Quade Cooper to put the drama of his contract negotiations behind him for Saturday's (0100 Sunday AEST) Tri-Nations Test against South Africa.

Cooper this week declared a huge offer from NRL club Parramatta would not be a distraction as he came back from a two-match suspension at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

"I think he will be fine," Elsom said.

"In a lot of ways it's good to be here rather than in Australia regarding the off-field stuff.

"The focus has been very much on what we've been doing and that makes it probably easier for him to just keep his mind on task."

Elsom said dealing with life away from the football field was reality for all professional players.

"Regardless of this particular instance, there's a lot of things that take guys' minds off what they should be thinking about, even thinking too much about what they're trying to do and how they're to play," he said.

"While this sort of hype around the contract negotiations isn't common, the distractions are."

Cooper fronted the South African media on Thursday, soon discovering they cared little about his thoughts on joining the Eels.

Of more concern was whether he was worried the Springboks would target Australia's five-eighth-centre channel and how the Wallabies would deal with 30,000 Victor Matfield masks handed out to celebrate the lock's 100th Test.

"He's quite an intimidating man so to see 30,000 of him, hopefully they're not all out on the field," Cooper said.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said the Test was an important one for the 22-year-old playmaker.

"He's got challenge enough, not having played for a couple of weeks, to come straight back into a Test match of this nature," Deans said.

"That alone is challenging. If you haven't done your mental preparation then you're doubly vulnerable."

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