Springboks to gang up Cooper - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Springboks to gang up Cooper

Darren Walton 11/08/2011 03:04:16 PM Comments (0)

Springboks hitman Butch James will enlist The Mob to gang up on Quade Cooper to stop the Wallabies dangerman from making any quick getaways at Kings Park on Saturday.

Notorious for his bruising, sometimes dubious defence, James will return from a four-match suspension to mark up on Cooper in the Tri Nations showdown in Durban.

While James has a proven ability to handle himself, the 32-year-old World Cup-winning flyhalf admits he'll need some assistance from teammates to keep Australia's elusive playmaker in check.

"It's tough to play against a player like that. I haven't played against him since he's been on fire this season," he said.

"He's very difficult (to read). You've just got to pick one side and hope that's the side he was going to go.

"But you do need your mates around you to help you out in situations with him around so that when you do go up, if he does cut on the inside, one of your flankers or someone else is there to make the tackle."

James' Super Rugby season for the Lions ended prematurely when he was outlawed for a month for a throat-hugging tackle on former Sharks teammate Keegan Daniel.

But while hoping to stay out of trouble on Saturday, James said his recent ban wouldn't alter his rugged approach on Saturday.

"Those sort of tackles happen all the time, in nearly every game, every weekend," he said.

"It was a reflex high tackle. I'm not too worried about it. It wasn't like I went out there for a high tackle.

"It's not playing on my mind and I'm pretty happy with where I am at the moment in regards to my discipline and remaining cool on the field."

He promised Cooper the very same treatment as any other player invading his space.

"My main job as a 10 is to control the game and to do my job in the team," James said.

"Part of that is to make my tackles and defend that 10 channel. So whoever comes down there I'll try and defend it and make as good a tackle as I can.

"But I want to try and stay cool-headed."

Wallabies fullback Kurtley Beale has first-hand experience of James' aggression, having copped "the full force" of the 98kg five-eighth during his maiden Super Rugby tour of South Africa in 2007.

But just as Cooper can expect another tough night out, like he endured last Saturday against the All Blacks in Auckland, Beale said the Wallabies wouldn't be rolling out the red carpet for James either.

"He's definitely a brutal defender, a very, very feisty defender," Beale said.

"We're obviously very aware of his defence. Hopefully I'm going to stick out on the wider channels away from him.

"In saying that, we've got plans for him around that. Even though it's a strength of his game, it can be a weakness."

Beale said the Wallabies also realised James offered the Boks more than just defensive starch.

"He's a very skilful player as well. He takes the ball to the line and can create a lot of opportunities outside for his centres," he said.

"So he's obviously a very experienced player and we've got to treat him with respect and not give him too many opportunities."

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