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Quade hungry for Lions battle: McKenzie


Jim Morton

Ewen McKenzie says Quade Cooper (above) is passionate about Australian rugby.

Ewen McKenzie says Quade Cooper (above) is passionate about Australian rugby. Photo: Getty Images

Controversial playmaker Quade Cooper is burning with hunger to win the Wallabies' No.10 jersey back and help beat the British and Irish Lions next year, according to Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie.

Describing Cooper as the most passionate rugby player he's encountered, McKenzie said his Reds five-eighth was ready to put his problems with Australian rugby behind him and return to top form for 2013.

"While there's been a lot of talk in recent time I've never ever thought that he wasn't passionate about the Reds, about Australian rugby," he said.

The 24-year-old, currently sidelined following knee surgery, will front an Australian Rugby Union code of conduct hearing in Sydney on Wednesday where his immediate future will be decided following his public criticisms of the code and Wallabies last month.

Cooper has since met with ARU integrity officer Phil Thompson as well as national coach Robbie Deans, while the QRU has also been in high-level discussions on the subject.

McKenzie took the Reds to last year's Super Rugby title and enjoys a remarkable 78 per cent success rate with Cooper as his No.10 since 2010, but bluntly said he had no concerns about losing the 38-Test star.

Cooper re-signed with Queensland on a three-year deal in June but he has yet to formalise that agreement by signing with the ARU.

Reports have suggested he will be fined for his attacks on the Wallabies' "toxic environment" and dour style of play and the punishment could be borne out in a reduced ARU contract.

At the time, Cooper told AAP he hated losing and was the most competitive person he knew and his comments were the result of frustration, especially given they were not challenging the All Blacks with an attacking game plan.

With the crowd-pulling Lions touring next season, McKenzie said Cooper would be hellbent on regaining the playmaking duties from good friend Kurtley Beale, who has starred at five-eighth in Australia's past three Tests.

"He's one of the most competitive guys I've met," the coach said of Cooper on the first day of Reds pre-season training on Monday.

"I'm sure he'll want to play 10 at the highest level he can in front of the biggest crowds he can possibly play. That's him.

"He wants to showcase (his skills) but the thing people miss is that he likes the responsibility of making things happen and have a game plan and taking it on the field.

"He likes that responsibility and we've relied upon him heavily in the last few years to deliver for us and he has.

"He likes to be empowered to do that and he feels that's his job. I've seen no change in him in that sense."


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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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