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Quade Cooper sets his sights on Wallabies No. 10 jersey

By AAP
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Star five-eighth Quade Cooper will be ready to go if called upon to steer the Wallabies in the opening Test against South Africa next month.

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The 35-year-old is hoping to make a second comeback to the national team after rupturing his Achilles against Argentina last August.

While the playmaker did not want to assume he would receive the nod from coach Eddie Jones when the squad is announced on Sunday, he will relish the opportunity in Pretoria if offered.

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“I 100 per cent want to wear the No.10 jersey,” Cooper said on Thursday.

“But I also know that the other boys are in that same mindset. So the respect aspect there is to compete as hard as possible for each jersey, but also support our teammates if they’re selected.

“I just focus on doing what I can to be the best that I can in these camps, and let the powers that be look after those types of decisions.”

Before the injury, Cooper helped manoeuvre the Wallabies to five straight wins that boosted Australia from seventh to third in the world rankings.

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In the 10 months since, Cooper has worked with rehabilitation teams and in May helped wooden spoon contenders Hanazono Kintetsu Liners to a much-needed win.

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For the veteran star, the rehabilitation process has been “very enjoyable”, giving him much-needed time to tend to the soft-tissue injury while physically and mentally preparing himself for a potential return to the international stage.

“The game, as I said, is the easy part,” said Cooper, modelling the jersey the Wallabies will wear at the France tournament which kicks off in September.

“It’s (the) preparation years before, months and months before, that will set you up to be able to do well at the World Cup.

“The habits that I’ve put in place over the past four or five years will allow me to perform and continue to perform throughout the year.”

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Long-time halves partner Will Genia said Cooper was the obvious No.10 pick, having added layers to his game in recent years.

“When he was younger, because of his youth and wanting to be the man so to speak, he wanted the ball all the time,” Genia wrote in a column for The Roar.

“Now you’ve seen the growth that he’s had in his game, where it’s about embracing his teammates.

“He’s playing off discipline as opposed to confidence.”

Though Cooper is in good spirits about a potential third World Cup, he is not blind to the challenges other teams present.

“The World Cup is the best teams in the World at the same place at the same time,” he said.

“The reality is it’ll come down to three games. It’ll come down to getting through your pool, and then being able to stay locked in and focused.”

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