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Cooper has to cope with pressure

Quade Cooper will have all eyes on him on Saturday night.

Quade Cooper will have all eyes on him on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images

It's time for Quade Cooper to put up or shut up - after six months of bad-mouthing the Wallabies, injuries and a boxing debut, Rod Kafer says the Queensland Reds' linchpin needs to prove he can handle the pressure created by his flamboyant personality.

Just eight days after stepping into the ring for his first boxing match, Cooper will lead the Reds into their fight with the ACT Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.

The flyhalf is no stranger to controversy or attention and the preparation for his seventh Super Rugby campaign has been anything but normal.

But in the past the 24-year-old has crumbled under the pressure from his off-field antics and Kafer says it's time for Cooper to stand tall.

Cooper was fined $40,000 by the ARU last year after he said the Wallabies had a ''toxic'' environment and he wouldn't play for the team until things were fixed.

''I think there's a fair bit for [Cooper] to prove and I think he'll be keen to come out there and try to play as well as he can,'' Kafer said.

''I commend him for taking some risks, he spoke up on his beliefs and we might not agree or understand them, but he had the courage to speak up.

''I think the pressure hurts him. I haven't ever seen him be a player who has responded well to the pressure … we have to remember he's young and he's got improving to do.''

The outspoken playmaker crumbled under pressure at the World Cup in New Zealand two years ago when the Kiwi crowds turned on him and booed every time he got close to the ball.

He has openly criticised the Wallabies' game style and then decided to sacrifice pre-season preparation with the Reds for his first boxing bout last week.

Cooper won his fight against Brisbane insurance agent Barry Dunnett, knocking his opponent out in the first round.

Given he was throwing punches just eight days before the first round of Super Rugby, there will be increased scrutiny of his performance against the Brumbies.

Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones said boxing so close to the season was ''good for Quade, but terrible for the team''.

''It's certainly got to affect your team preparation, particularly when Will Genia is already out,'' Jones said.

''Quade's a proven champion No.10 and, with time and space, he's better than anyone in the competition … I think he can have a really good season.''

Cooper's opposite number, Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua, says the ACT has avoided getting caught in the Cooper hype and build-up.

The pair were schoolboy rivals in Queensland before Toomua joined the Brumbies.

''If I'm worrying about [Cooper] then I'm not worrying about what we're trying to do as a team,'' Cooper said.

''I've got more than enough stuff to focus on and achieve this week.

''In terms of trying to make it into a trial against the Wallabies fly-half - that's definitely not the case.

''For me it's about getting back on the paddock and stringing some games together.''

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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