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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.

    Commenter
    RTP
    Location
    Sawtell
    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.

      Commenter
      LB
      Location
      Ipswich
      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.

      Commenter
      PJ
      Location
      Brisbane
      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...

      Commenter
      Hugh Briss
      Location
      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.

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

      '....now 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 ?

      Commenter
      Machooka
      Location
      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.

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

      Commenter
      Hatchet
      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.

      Commenter
      CannonballKoala
      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.

      Commenter
      sod98
      Date and time
      January 21, 2014, 8:52AM

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Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Stats
BUL 17 vs STO 29 Stats
WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs HIG 17:35WS
BRU vs FOR 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU vs LIO 17:35QBE Stadium
RED vs WAR 19:40SS
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT vs BUL 02:05FSS
STO vs SHA 04:10DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs BLU 17:35FMG Stadium
FOR vs REB 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU vs LIO 14:30AMI
HIG vs WAR 17:35FBS
RED vs BRU 19:40SS
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO vs CHF 00:00DHL Newlands
CHT vs SHA 02:05FSS
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG vs HUR 17:35FBS
REB vs LIO 19:40AAMI
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU vs CHT 17:35AMI
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL vs FOR 02:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs CHF 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
WAR vs BRU 16:05AS
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs REB 17:35WS
RED vs LIO 20:00SS
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs CHT 14:30WS
HIG vs STO 17:35FBS
WAR vs BLU 19:40AS
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA vs FOR 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
BUL vs CRU 04:10Loftus Versfeld
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs STO 18:35WS
REB vs RED 20:40AAMI
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs BLU 18:35WS
BRU vs CHT 20:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA vs CRU 01:00Growthpoint Kings Park
LIO vs BUL 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BRU 18:35EP
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HIG 18:35AMI
WAR vs STO 20:40AS
FOR vs CHT 22:45nib Stadium
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
BUL vs RED 00:00Loftus Versfeld
LIO vs SHA 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs CHF 18:35AMI
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR vs WAR 15:30WS
HIG vs BLU 18:35FBS
BRU vs REB 20:40GIO Stadium
FOR vs STO 22:45nib Stadium
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA vs BUL 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
CHT vs RED 04:10FSS
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF vs FOR 18:35WS
BRU vs HIG 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs BLU 18:35AMI
WAR vs REB 20:40ANZ
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO vs CHT 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO vs BUL 04:10DHL Newlands
RED vs HUR 17:05SS
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
BRU vs WAR 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs FOR 16:30EP
HUR vs CRU 18:35WS
REB vs CHF 20:40AAMI
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT vs STO 02:05FSS
BUL vs LIO 04:10Loftus Versfeld
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs RED 18:35AMI
REB vs BLU 20:40AAMI
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR vs SHA 18:35WS
FOR vs WAR 20:40nib Stadium
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO vs HIG 00:00Emirates Airlines Park
STO vs BRU 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BUL 18:35EP
RED vs REB 20:40SS
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR vs CHF 18:35WS
WAR vs SHA 20:40AS
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO vs BRU 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
CHT vs HIG 04:10FSS
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF vs BUL 18:35Rotorua International Stadium
RED vs SHA 20:40SS
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HUR 18:35Emirates Airlines Park
WAR vs CRU 20:40ANZ
FOR vs HIG 22:45nib Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT vs LIO 02:05FSS
STO vs REB 04:10DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HUR 18:35Trafalgar Park
BRU vs BUL 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA vs REB 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
HIG vs CHF 18:35Rugby Park
FOR vs RED 20:40nib Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO vs CHT 02:05DHL Newlands
LIO vs WAR 04:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB vs BUL 16:30AAMI
BLU vs CRU 18:35EP
RED vs CHF 20:40SS
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CHT vs WAR 00:00FSS
STO vs LIO 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 18:35EP
REB vs FOR 20:40AAMI
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU vs CRU 16:30GIO Stadium
CHF vs HUR 18:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR vs RED 20:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL vs CHT 02:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs STO 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Brumbies 3 2 1 0 47 10
Hurricanes 3 3 0 0 47 13
Stormers 3 3 0 0 26 12
Cheetahs 2 2 0 0 7 9
Chiefs 3 3 0 0 31 13
Rebels 3 1 2 0 -5 6
Highlanders 2 1 1 0 1 5
Sharks 3 1 2 0 3 6
View all
 
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