Quade can't wait for All Blacks test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Quade can't wait for All Blacks test

By Adrian Warren 06/09/2010 06:53:34 PM Comments (0)

Highly valued Wallaby Quade Cooper can't put a price on how much he is looking forward to tussling with the country of his birth, New Zealand, for the first time on Saturday.

Unlike most of his Australia teammates, Cooper hasn't had to deal with the stigma of failure against the All Blacks, who have beaten the Wallabies in their past nine encounters.

The stylish five-eighth has played 18 Tests but suspension kept him out of the two earlier Tri-Nations clashes with New Zealand this season.

"You can't put an amount on how much I'm looking forward to playing them," Cooper said at Sydney Airport on Monday when the team returned from South Africa.

"I've sat on the bench so many times and then I missed two games against them through suspension."

Buoyed by the dramatic 41-39 win over South Africa in Bloemfontein, Australia will be bidding for their first back-to-back Tri-Nations wins since 2008.

Cooper said he hoped to make a decision about his future soon, though it is widely considered he will remain in rugby union and reject a lucrative offer to join NRL club Parramatta.

Renowned for his attacking flair rather than defence, Cooper joked about the rare "battle wounds" he brought back from South Africa, with bruises around both eyes.

"I'm pretty proud of them actually," Cooper said.

Since beating South Africa and New Zealand in Robbie Deans's first two Tri-Nations fixtures as coach, Australia have won only four out of their past 14 matches in the tournament.

Neither Cooper nor Deans took much comfort from the fact New Zealand would be without their own influential five-eighth, Dan Carter, for Saturday's ANZ Stadium engagement.

"Rugby is the ultimate team game and the All Blacks have shown routinely that they tend to rumble on regardless of personnel," Deans said.

Bloemfontein match-winner Kurtley Beale, whose last-gasp long-distance penalty goal ended Australia's 47-year drought at altitude in South Africa, believed recording back-to-back wins would send a message to the rugby world.

"I think it will tell everyone what we are really made of after the performance of last week and hopefully getting a win this weekend will let everyone know that we mean business," Beale said.

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