'I probably didn't ever expect to be in this position'
Back in the Wallabies squad for the first time since 2017, Quade Cooper didn’t think it would be possible having left Australia to pursue a contract in Japan with the Kintetsu Liners following the 2019 World Cup.
Speaking at press conference with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, Cooper was just glad to be back in the environment to contribute in whatever way he can to help the team prepare for this year’s Bledisloe series.
“I probably didn’t ever expect to be in this position, so I’m very grateful for the opportunity and be back in this environment,” said Cooper.
“It’s one of those things that you continue to work away, try and grow each day, and an opportunity like this has presented itself and it’s just a matter of making yourself available, and you’re ready.
“I’m just excited at the possibility of being in this environment and be able to provide however I can.
“If that’s offering some support to a young guy like Noah, an exciting player, and just be around this environment and provide an extra voice, an extra player to be able to train and prepare the boys for whatever’s next.”
Having finished his season in Japan a couple months ago, Cooper has stayed on top of his game by keeping healthy and training with his younger brothers who play the other code in Brisbane.
“Our season [in Japan], didn’t finish too long ago. I think it’s been about seven weeks since our season finished. We went through a very, very long pre-season with Covid last year, the season just kept getting delayed with the situation.
“We probably had about 12 months preparation for our season. So to get a short break, refresh the body, stay in the gym, stay healthy. In terms of footy preparation, that’s something that you always stay on top off.
“My two little brothers in Brisbane play rugby league, I join in on some of their training sessions.”
Since Cooper’s departure from Australia two years ago, Brumbies young playmaker Noah Lolesio has entered the Wallabies frame as one of the contending flyhalves, alongside the experienced James O’Connor.
With O’Connor’s injury status during July, Lolesio assumed the starting role at 10 for the three tests against France, impressing Cooper with his cool head and composure kicking key goals late in games.
Cooper believed that they could help each other in the Wallabies camp, and he was approaching his involvement looking to soak up as much out of the experience as he can give back.
“I think we can continue to help each other,” Cooper said.
“Even myself, at 33, I’m here still trying to learn, trying to soak up as much information as I can.
“Watching they way he [Noah] went through those test matches, he’s a phenomenal player. I know he’s going to be a great player and great asset to Australian Rugby.
“His composure at the end of those test matches, to be able to nail those kicks at goal already shows a steady resolve in the kid.”
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