JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Cooper in 'miracle' start

Date

Jim Morton

Quade Cooper will make his long-awaited return to rugby with the Reds this weekend.

Quade Cooper will make his long-awaited return to rugby with the Reds this weekend. Photo: Getty Images

Queensland Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper has two auditions, including a shock Super Rugby start on Saturday night, to regain his Wallabies No.10 jersey in next month's internationals.

Two days after Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said it would be a miracle for Cooper to return from knee surgery this weekend, the 35-Test playmaker has been named to make his long-awaited return against the last-placed Johannesburg Lions at Suncorp Stadium.

Rather than being eased off the bench Cooper will start, just four days after his first full contact training session.

But Cooper is confident he will be able to produce the jinking runs and playmaking nous which helped reap last year's Super Rugby and Tri-Nations titles.

''Confidence isn't something that I lack,'' he quipped yesterday. ''Going out there and playing footy is what I love to do. If those opportunities [to step around players] arise, I know I've done the hard work.

''It's been a tough time, and a very long time at that, and I'm just so excited to be back as a part of the [Reds] team.''

If he comes through the match against the Lions and Saturday week's pivotal encounter with the ACT Brumbies in Canberra with no mishaps, Cooper will be in the frame to play at least one of two back-to-back Tests in early June.

Australia meet Scotland in Newcastle on June 5 before taking on Wales in Brisbane in the first of a three-Test series against the Six Nations champions.

With James O'Connor also out through injury, Test fullback Kurtley Beale had become the front-runner to play flyhalf following two stand-out displays at No.10 for the Melbourne Rebels.

Cooper, who hasn't played since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament seven months ago at the end of his disappointing World Cup campaign, admitted thoughts of his own return to the Wallabies were ''a long way away''.

''That's not my focus at all,'' he said. ''My focus is solely getting out there this weekend and playing good footy.

''If those things arise, we'll think about them when they come. I know on the weekend the Lions will be coming for me and they will be coming for the team.''

Cooper's return means stand-in Reds' flyhalf Ben Lucas reverts to fullback, knocking Luke Morahan onto the bench, but centre Mike Harris will keep the goalkicking duties.

The Reds made two other changes to the side which upset the Waikato Chiefs 42-27 with front-rowers Greg Holmes and Saia Faingaa replacing Ben Daley and James Hanson, while back Chris F'Sautia is set to debut off the bench. AAP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
Featured advertisers