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Calls for Quade Cooper to replace Max Jorgensen in Wallabies camp

By Ned Lester
James Slipper and Quade Cooper of the Wallabies watch on following the The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 29, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)

Pool C has provided some great drama to start the Rugby World Cup thanks to an incredibly competitive field of teams and of course, Eddie Jones.

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First, there was the Wales vs Fiji game. A match that came right down to the wire and was lost by a Fiji knock-on just metres from the line when the lead was within grasp in the dying moments.

Then, Fiji did what they couldn’t in round one and finished the job against Australia. It confirmed the hopes and beliefs of many that the Flying Fijians outfit are much more than fun and flair, but a genuine threat across the park.

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The loss put the Wallabies under huge pressure, needing to win each of their remaining games in order to avoid a first-ever pool stage exit.

The impending Test against Wales will go a long way in deciding the team’s fate, and they will be without numerous key players who have fallen to injury.

“One of the young backs, Max Jorgensen, young 18-year-old bloke – he wasn’t going to play any Tests anyway, he might have player against Portugal – he broke his leg,” former Wallaby Greg Martin told The Platform. “So there is a position open.

“Maybe Quade (Cooper’s) missed 20 calls from Eddie; if you remember pre-World Cup he wasn’t answering his calls. Maybe he’s picking his phone up now because we need a five-eighth that can direct the game and he’s got a bit of experience. And, we need a goal kicker.

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“Quade does both those things, maybe it’s not a bad idea. I saw on his Instagram he’s training hard so maybe he does come over. That could be a possibility

“But, I think even if he came over he can’t play against Wales so what’s the use?

“We’ve got problems with (Will) Skelton our captain, he’s out. (Taniela) Tupou’s out, our best front rower. So we’re in a bit of strife but as I said, we can still beat Wales.”

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Reports of No 10 Carter Gordon falling out of favour with Eddie Jones may add fuel to the notion of a Quade Cooper inclusion.

Gordon was selected as the only specialist first five-eighth in Eddie Jones’ 33-man squad, with the coach famously opting to omit Quade Cooper and the mildly injured Michael Hooper from the World Cup campaign.

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Injuries to the few veterans in the team confound the problems for the Wallabies and comments coming out of the camp suggest the players don’t even know who will captain the side against Wales.

The calming influence of an experienced leader like Cooper may be just what the team need but, as Martin says, it may be too late for the playmaker to make any significant impact on the campaign.

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That being said, a team will be fielded against the Welsh, and Martin says while it may not be the strongest XV Australia has ever named, it may be enough for a win.

“Wales aren’t that good. I know we’re not very good, but Wales aren’t either so we could possibly win this.

“We’re both about the same crapability so, we can win the game if we’re good enough. But, we need to do some tackling, we need to get better at the breakdown, we need to kick less, we need to give away less penalties. We gave away 20 penalties against Fiji.

“So, we’re at a low point in our cycle of players at the moment. We’re not very good, but it’s still conceivable that we can beat Wales.”

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