Ashley-Cooper bids to nail down No.13 spot - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ashley-Cooper bids to nail down No.13 spot

Adrian Warren 21/10/2010 05:14:18 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies utility Adam Ashley-Cooper has set his sights on nailing down the outside centre position as a permanent spot in the talent-laden Australian back division.

Widely respected for his versatility, 26-year-old Ashley-Cooper has played at fullback, on the wing and in both centre positions during his 46-Test career.

He ended 2009 as Australia's first-choice fullback and had hoped he had finally found a home in that spot.

However, he started the 2010 international program on the wing with emerging youngsters Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor given the first cracks in the No.15 jersey for the opening two Tests of the campaign.

An injury to promising centre Rob Horne resulted in yet another switch for Ashley-Cooper, who has started Australia's past six Tests at outside centre.

With the future of former long-term outside centre and captain Stirling Mortlock uncertain, Ashley-Cooper has the chance to consolidate the No.13 jersey on the seven-match spring tour campaign.

"The change back to 13 is really refreshing and I've loved it," Ashley-Cooper told reporters on Thursday.

"I can see myself building as a 13 and taking it into next year, not only this tour.

"Hopefully I can play back-to-back and perform well and get selected. I really see myself staying in this position for a while."

Ashley-Cooper was confident Australia could break their 10-match losing streak against New Zealand in the tour opener in Hong Kong on October 30.

"Very confident. Training has been great, we've had a couple of weeks of some pretty heavy loaded camps where we've got through a lot of work.

"The shape is looking really good and so is the skill. Everyone is pretty excited."

Ashley-Cooper felt a drought-breaking win over the All Blacks would do wonders for the Wallabies with less than a year remaining until the World Cup in New Zealand.

He also believed the Wallabies were capable of completing a rare unbeaten spring tour with six more matches, including four Tests on their schedule following the All Blacks fixture.

"In the back of everyone's minds (an unbeaten tour) is what everyone wants to achieve," Ashley-Cooper said.

"We haven't spoken about it, but I'm sure everyone is thinking about it because how good would an unbeaten tour be?

"Obviously you can't get too ahead of yourselves, first there is Hong Kong.

"We've lost 10 in a row (to new Zealand) and the 11th is our main focus. We want to get that win. It's very important to us."

He believed breaking through that barrier would provide Australia with tremendous momentum.

"Leading into next year (a win over New Zealand would be) very, very important. It would get things rolling."

Winger Peter Hynes limped out of training on Thursday with an ankle injury, but team officials said it wasn't serious.

After tough workouts the past two days, the Wallabies will have a recovery session on Friday before heading to Hong Kong on Saturday.

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