Nonu says Cooper is not a target - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Nonu says Cooper is not a target

By Ed Jackson 09/09/2010 02:37:18 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand inside centre Ma'a Nonu has knocked back any suggestion he will target the suspect defence of Wallabies star Quade Cooper in Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test.

For all his mercurial attacking talent, Cooper's tackling ability has come under fire from some quarters and many believe the All Blacks will send a rampaging Nonu at the Australian five-eighth in the Tri-Nations match at ANZ Stadium.

But as Cooper prepares for his first Test against the land of his birth, Nonu gave the Queensland Red's defensive skills a tick of approval on Thursday.

"I wouldn't think so," Nonu said when asked if Cooper was a target.

"I think he's a solid defender, he put a big shot on (Jean) De Villiers last week, I think in the first minute.

"So he's a confident young man, we saw that when he played for the Reds - he almost took them to the semi-finals.

"He's played well for the Wallabies and the last few games they've won he's played a big part in that. I'm sure he's been practising all aspects of his game so I think he wouldn't shy away from tackling."

Nonu appears more concerned with the performance of New Zealand's rookie No.10, Hurricanes teammate Aaron Cruden, who will be making his first All Blacks start in Saturday's match.

With Nonu and fellow Super 14 teammates Conrad Smith and Piri Weepu in the All Blacks backline, Cruden won't have to turn far for support.

"(I) just hope he has a big one," Nonu said.

"It's going to be exciting playing next to him, especially at this level.

"I'm sure for myself and Conrad it's more just about making him feel more confident."

The 28-year-old also feels his teammates should be more concerned about their defensive responsibilities on Saturday than any supposed fragility in the Wallabies line.

"I think it'll be a big job against Australia because they're a skilful backline that has got good moves," Nonu said.

"They can attack from wide and all their second man play ... we've got a big job in defending that. You saw it in the first half against South Africa, mate, they just played fast rugby.

"You can't really give them a chance and if you're on the back foot they'll break you open."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news