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Quade Cooper wins over hearts and minds of critics

Quade Cooper: "When I go and train hard, put in good performances, that's what I'll be remembered for".

Quade Cooper: "When I go and train hard, put in good performances, that's what I'll be remembered for". Photo: Reuters

For a long time, it seemed as if Quade Cooper couldn't put a foot right in front of the Australian rugby public. Many would argue he didn't help himself, whether it be nights out with James O'Connor or his messy fallout with Robbie Deans.

Queensland Reds fans gave him more latitude than most, given his brilliance in 2011 when the province won the Super Rugby title. But once he flew over the Tweed border, it became a much harder sell.

Now Cooper seems to be making headway in the battle for hearts and minds, winning over Wallabies supporters as well as his teammates, who have witnessed rapid personal growth for a man now determined to make every post a winner in his second chance at the highest level.

Cooper can sense it, as well, although he's hardly getting carried away with the odd kind word in the press, or praise for the kind of maturity that has seen him mentioned as a potential Wallabies captain. These days, Cooper remains one of the better interviews in rugby but can't help but occasionally sound like a motivational speaker. Being praised for good work simply means you do more work, he says.

But he admits it is gratifying to know some of his long-time critics are finally starting to embrace his new approach to life and football.

''People are going to have different opinions of me, whether I like it or not. But to see some of the things being written and said about me, it is quite heart-warming to know that the hard work is being recognised,'' said Cooper, who returned to Ballymore early to begin his pre-season.

''That just means I have to continue to work hard. I can't just think, 'Someone said something nice about me, that's cool, that's good enough'.

''The things that matter are how I turn up to training, how I'm seen by my teammates. When I go and train hard, put in good performances, that's what I'll be remembered for.''

There's a long way to go yet but if Cooper was appointed Wallabies captain by Ewen McKenzie, it would mark the completion of one of the most remarkable turnarounds in Australian sport, from outcast and pariah to inspirational leader. Even Cooper has to pinch himself to think he is even in the conversation to take over from Ben Mowen, who will move to France at the end of the Super Rugby season.

''Guys are throwing up my name as a possibility of being Wallaby captain. I look back six months and think there's no way that could have happened,'' Cooper said. ''I know that the hard work is paying off. You have to keep working hard.''

For the record, Cooper isn't expecting to be given the nod. Will Genia, previous captain James Horwill and the returning David Pocock all have claims of their own. He said he remained focused on taking the Wallabies to the next level, with next year's World Cup the goal.

''We want to be a team that, come World Cup, we're right up there and winning, not just a team with a lot of potential. I'm not focusing on captaincy issues,'' Cooper said.

Cooper has returned to Ballymore in fine fettle, given he is also preparing for his second boxing bout in late January.

In the meantime, he said he would be continuing to add the extras at Reds training as Queensland try to ensure they are there when the whips are cracking under new coach Richard Graham.

''Hard work off the field is the stuff that really matters, the stuff when people aren't looking. Those are the things that really pick up your game,'' Cooper said.

''I always say to the younger guys that when you get given a schedule of training, that's a bare minimum. If you want to be the best you have to work outside those parameters.

''That's something I've applied to my game as a rugby player and as a person,'' he said.

55 comments so far

  • Notice the day Cooper got out from under James O'Connor and Kurtly Beal's influence his stocks started to rise. Good on him for making the cut. I hope he gets more well directed advice in his career.

    Date and time
    January 16, 2014, 10:17PM
    • I think his biggest change was when he finally got rid of the stupid haircut, this was when he matured as a player and a person. The wallabies started their downward slope when the players seemed to care more about their appearance in photos rather than what they could do on the field.

      Cooper came out and slammed the Wallaby system and it appears he was right.

      Date and time
      January 17, 2014, 8:40AM
    • Exactly. Cooper was a bit too much of a leagie for quite a while and didn't get the cultural differences but the other two were definitely a poor influence.

      Don't think Deans really knew how to handle these idiots. Getting rid of O'Connor however was the best thing that could've happened to the Wallabies. Hopefully we've seen the last of him.

      Date and time
      January 17, 2014, 9:10AM
    • Quade began perpetrating atrocities BEFORE the other amigos had started their careers. So perhaps all they did was enhance his d***headed-ness. I do, however, acknowledge that QC has turned some kind of corner. His game has improved out of sight, and he's worked out that no headlines are better than bad ones...

      Hugh Briss
      Gold Coast
      Date and time
      January 17, 2014, 10:18AM
    • Judge a player by the standard of the opposition he plays against. Yes a better attitude helps, but really it's the same old QC - shy on tackles, looks for sideline or fullback in general defence, cramps backline across field and throws the ball away when being tackled often. He, like the coach of the Wallabies are false hopes to hinge your RWC bets on. Australia had the coach to get you there but he wasn't backed when it came to a player revolt and Cooper was right in amongst it all undermining the team. Now the team is playing worse over all - esp against the better teams - AB's, SA and England. enough with the excuses, Australia use to only like winners, now they accept 4th place.

      Date and time
      January 17, 2014, 10:49AM
    • @sod98

      ' they accept 4th place.'

      Ummm... just a tad incorrect. Our IRB ranking is now 3rd which is still un-acceptable just like your assersions to the form of QC, the Wallaby coach and all things Wallaby. I suppose it's no real surprise coming from one of those ill-informed Kiwi types..... mmmm how real Kiwis must cringe ?

      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      January 17, 2014, 11:33AM
    • When they hired a Kiwi coach, the Kiwi wallaby failed to cope. As soon as they sack the Kiwi coach and put his old mentor in charge this Kiwi Wallaby is back to his best.

      Date and time
      January 17, 2014, 12:54PM
    • He also needs to ditch his manager.

      Date and time
      January 17, 2014, 3:07PM
    • @Sod98 we will be up to the challenge this year Shaky Isle man. Shake that sod off my shoe.

      Date and time
      January 17, 2014, 3:32PM
    • Come on guys where is the proof of improvement - wins against teams the AB's and SA better every other day. When the Wallabies beat the AB's and SA consistently not to mention England then just maybe we will take you guys seriously. QC simply wouldn't get a game for a Super team over here, but yes to a ITM cup team. Ever heard of defence is your first line of attack. Guess not.

      Date and time
      January 21, 2014, 8:52AM

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Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
FOR 18vs WAR 11 Report Stats
LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 23vs BUL 18 Report Stats
RED 46vs REB 29 Report Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 22vs CHF 18 Report Stats
WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 20vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
RED 14vs SHA 21 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 5vs HUR 29 Report Stats
WAR 32vs CRU 22 Report Stats
FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 17vs LIO 40 Report Stats
STO 31vs REB 15 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 35vs HUR 18 Report Stats
BRU 22vs BUL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 25vs REB 21 Report Stats
HIG 36vs CHF 9 Report Stats
FOR 10vs RED 32 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 42vs CHT 12 Report Stats
LIO 27vs WAR 22 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 56vs HIG 20 Report Stats
FOR 20vs BRU 33 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB 21vs BUL 20 Report Stats
BLU 11vs CRU 34 Report Stats
RED 3vs CHF 24 Report Stats
CHT 33vs WAR 58 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19vs LIO 19 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU 7vs HIG 44 Report Stats
REB 11vs FOR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU 24vs CRU 37 Report Stats
CHF 13vs HUR 21 Report Stats
WAR 31vs RED 5 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL 29vs CHT 42 Report Stats
SHA 34vs STO 12 Stats
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Super Rugby Qualifying Finals
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
HIG 24vs CHF 14 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19vs BRU 39 Report Stats
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Super Rugby Semi Finals
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 29vs BRU 9 Stats
WAR 17vs HIG 35 Report Stats
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Super Rugby Grand Final
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
HUR 14vs HIG 21 Report Stats
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Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 2 0 170 66
Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
View all

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