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Quade Cooper spared an awkward round

Wallabies and Reds pivot Quade Cooper.

Wallabies and Reds pivot Quade Cooper. Photo: Getty Images

Quade Cooper's dodgy knee is likely to prevent him playing a rather awkward round of golf with Robbie Deans on Friday but he has found the most unlikely of allies in his critique of the Wallabies coach – none other than Richie McCaw.

Deans is scheduled to play in a Think Pink charity golf day at Hope Island, organised by Fainga'a twins Ant and Saia, to help raise money for breast cancer research.

Cooper was also slated to pick up the clubs, but it is understood recent surgery on his knee could stop him from teeing up the little white ball. It might also circumvent an inconvenient meeting with Deans, which you suspect would have taken place with tumbleweeds rolling past and everyone whistling to themselves.

The injured playmaker insists other Wallabies share his views about the toxicity of the Wallaby ecosystem but, as yet, none have been willing to pipe up. After a face-saving win over Argentina, it's unlikely any will come out of the woodwork next week as the Wallabies prepare for the October 20 Bledisloe at Suncorp Stadium.

And so it came to McCaw to give some credence from way, way out of left field to Cooper's concerns about the methods of Deans, the former Canterbury coach who was overlooked for the All Blacks job in favour of Graham Henry.

It was like Batman stopping to help the Joker change a tyre on the side of the freeway.

In his new book, which also squarely takes aim at his arch-enemy Cooper, the All Blacks captain details the reasons he supported Henry over Deans when he was asked about who should get the top job in New Zealand rugby.

“Robbie doesn't appear to want to be challenged by his assistants and won't allow the kind of full-on debate that Ted [Henry] encourages with Smith and Hansen,” McCaw wrote.

“Robbie's approach is to say, 'This is what we're doing,' then convince people that's the way it's got to be. He's very good at that.

“But when you look at the record of Robbie's assistant coaches, there's quite a lot of turnover and fallout. Robbie's intransigence and reluctance to delegate might have been a factor… if you look at the names of some of Robbie's assistants. Colin Cooper, Vern Cotter, Don Hayes, Todd Blackadder.

"It's tempting to draw the conclusion that if Robbie gets a strong assistant coach, the assistant won't last, and if he gets one that lasts, he's not that strong.”

Rest assured any support McCaw may have given to Cooper was purely accidental. He didn't miss the Reds star in his book, saying he believed the infamous knee to the head in Brisbane was deliberate.

“There was a bit of post-game controversy around Quade Cooper's attempt to knee me in the head as he was extricating himself from a ruck,” McCaw wrote.

“The intent of what he was trying to do pissed me off more than the execution. Shortly after that happened, I was carrying and should have passed, but I lit up and I saw Quade standing in front of me and clattered into him instead.

“I was disappointed in myself doing that, letting it get personal. There's no need – players like Quade get sorted. Sooner or later they get their beans.”

Cooper's outbursts was dismissed by many as the rantings of a squeaky wheel unable to cut it in Test rugby. He had denied that was his motivation and McCaw's evaluation of Deans may give some cause for reconsideration.

At the very least, McCaw's comments about Deans were more far more pointed and specific. Given his God-like status in New Zealand and lofty place in world rugby, they carry significantly more weight.

It will be an intriguing week for Deans and the Wallabies in Brisbane before next Saturday's Test. Cooper is unlikely to be part of any official Wallabies functions or events but his name will still be on everyone's lips as the Australians and All Blacks prepare in the Queensland capital.

The Wallabies have been in South Africa and Argentina for the entirety of the Cooper saga but will face more questions when they return home to more intense media scrutiny.

Questions about Cooper and McCaw aren't likely to be warmly welcomed by the Wallabies and the ARU will be hoping discussions centre on matters on the park, not about the future of the coach or state of the game.


  • I hardly think Quade Cooper is McCaw's 'arch enemy'. More like an annoying grub, one that takes ineffectual and cowardly cheap-shots, before bravely running away...

    Date and time
    October 10, 2012, 11:47AM
    • right on the money dandy! and swat the annoying little bugger before he gets away!

      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 12:54PM
    • I've been an admirer of McCaw's robust stud work for many years - limbs, backs, heads - whatever. It's a fine complement to his unique interpretation of coming in from the side and laying over the ball.
      Fierce competitor, sure, but I've always been mystified as to his saintly status over there. Great to have in your side, but a player who might be looked at very differently if we'd had competent refs over the years.
      Cooper is a very fine talent - who's now realised he stands Buckley's of ever being allowed to develop it in this climate. I'd be inclined to think his assessment of Rugby HQ in Aus. is probably pretty bang on the money.

      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 9:33PM
  • Cooper's more of an annoying bug who will be forever hated in NZ for his cowardly pokes at Richie. If he'd have fronted up like a man toe to toe then there would be respect. But kneeing a man lying prone on the ground? I look forward to the day Cooper comes to Christchurch.

    Date and time
    October 10, 2012, 12:43PM
    • A kiwi whinging about dirty play? ha ha. New Zealand is known for producing the dirtiest players in rugby. Not only is dirty play condoned in nz, it is actually rewarded. Richard Loe has a gig writing for the NZ Herald and and an even bigger grub was given a knighthood - meads. No doubt McCaw will get one too.

      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 3:00PM
    • Let's not foprget the job done on Brian O'Driscoll by Umanga. Richie McCaw is in the best traditions of AB rugby - get away with what you can, and at all times keep a straight face.

      Any team playing the ABs
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 4:22PM
    • Steady on boys! It's called clearing out the ruck! You boys need to stop being such sore losers and defy an age-long Aussie tradition. Foul play is never tolerated at any level in NZ rugby.

      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 6:04PM
  • Beale seems to have benefited from Cooper's absence for the past fortnight so hope the ARU makes sure the 3 amigos don't have one of their late night parties until after the remaining test in Brisbane.

    Date and time
    October 10, 2012, 1:28PM
    • Let the truth be known Sir Ritchie, for it really was you that started this nonsense when you kicked out like a little lady boy, at Quade's knee, whilst on the ground in that now infamous 'Wallaby resurgence'?...ahem....Bledisloe played in Honkers....I think you must have been disheveled after QC cleared you out for your prying hands.....poor you Sir McCaw, you big tough guy you.
      Roll the tape Gyngell......
      You can't blame a kid for sticking up for himself.....eye for an eye and all that.

      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 1:39PM
      • Your just trying to wind up smh readers and rugby lovers with this tripe right? No follower of rugby union or anyone with an IQ above shoe size could possibly have written this sh.te
        R Mc Caw.........capt of his national team winning 100 of 112 tests, wc captain and winner, S15 winner how many times, IRB winner of year etc etc etc etc
        Q Cooper.........1 x S15 medal
        Never has been and never will be wobblies captain or wc winner or win another S15 medal etc etc etc
        So firstly take your regular medication and then think (maybe shut your eyes and put your hands in your pockets) really really hard before you answer this........who is the better rugby union player?
        Other questions re moral character, maturity, IQ and standing in the rugby world will most likely be way too much for you to contemplate.....leave that to us adults, ok?

        Ps........yes, McCaw will get a knighthood when he retires (already refused it).........Cooper?..........maybe the xxxx player of the year in NRL? (fat chance)

        headed off
        Guatavita, Colombia
        Date and time
        October 10, 2012, 5:49PM

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