Cooper faces tackling test: Lynagh - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cooper faces tackling test: Lynagh

Ed Jackson 06/02/2011 04:30:14 PM Comments (0)

Quade Cooper's attacking talent is undeniable, but he'll need to stiffen up his defence to be Australia's lock-in five-eighth at this year's World Cup, according to Wallabies legend Michael Lynagh.

Lynagh, who scored a then-world record 911 points from 72 Test appearances between 1984 and 1995, says he's a Cooper fan but the Queensland playmaker needs to match his running flair with improved tackling during the upcoming Super Rugby season.

"His unpredictability is a great strength because opposition don't know what he's going to do next and he's got such individual skills, individual to him, that are quite extraordinary really," Lynagh told AAP from the Laureus Sports Awards in Abu Dhabi.

"Quade's, rightly or wrongly, got this reputation that his defence is a bit frail so he's got to work on that."

Lynagh said Cooper faces plenty of competition over the next six months to prove to Wallabies coach Robbie Deans that he's the man to guide Australia's backline during the World Cup in New Zealand.

"We'll see how he goes in the Super Rugby tournament because we've got some pretty talented guys there," said Lynagh, Australia's 1991 World Cup winning No.10.

"(Matt) Giteau and Berrick (Barnes) as well, and it's nice to have them, those sort of three names as well as Kurtley Beale, who seems to have found his niche however at fullback, but he also can play flyhalf.

"It's getting the combinations right. With Berrick and Matt, you know their tackling's pretty solid."

Lynagh added that he was delighted Cooper hadn't pursued a "crazy" idea to switch codes and join NRL side Parramatta last year.

"I was always of the view he would have been crazy to go to league prior to this World Cup because if he goes with Australia and plays well in the World Cup he'll be in more demand in league and union than he was say, a year ago.

"Right decision for him and right decision for Australian rugby to get him there."

Lynagh also feels Giteau will bounce back to his best in 2011 following a disappointing season in 2010 after making an off-season switch to the Brumbies from the Western Force.

"We're measuring him by some fairly high standards," Lynagh said of the 28-year-old.

"It's not that he's played poorly or anything like that, I just feel he's had a quiet year and you're allowed to do that.

"A change of scenery this year, and going back home, might work well for him."

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