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Quade Cooper's World Cup in doubt after 'devastating' injury update

By PA
Detail of the orthopedic walker boot of Quade Cooper of Australia who suffered an injury after The Rugby Championship match between Argentina Pumas and Australian Wallabies at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas on August 06, 2022 in Mendoza, Argentina. (Photo by Daniel Jayo/Getty Images)

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The participation of Quade Cooper in the Wallabies Rugby World Cup campaign in France next year is under serious threat after the veteran was handed a ‘devastating’ injury prognosis.

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Cooper went down in the first seven minutes of the second half after attempting one of his trademark goose steps. The 34-year-old immediately fell to the ground clutching his heel and was clearly in agony.

It has been confirmed that he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, a notoriously difficult injury to mend in the context of elite sports.

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The injury could mean he doesn’t set foot back onto a rugby pitch until the mid-2023 and leaves the mercurial playmaker in a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

The official NRL Physio Twitter account suggested that the standard recovery time for an athlete was six to eight months, which would mean a likely return to training of April, 2023. “Sorry to see Quade Cooper go down with a left achilles rupture last night – typical non-contact pushing off mechanism.

“Has dealt with calf issues in recent times. Repair surgery ahead with a usual 6-8 month recovery period, wish him the best.”

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It’s a major blow for Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie, who has frequently opted for Cooper – when fit and available – as his first choice first-five.

Argentina, led by Australian-born head coach Michael Cheika, had opened up a 19-10 lead at the interval, helped by an early try from Pablo Matera and the boot of fly-half Emiliano Boffelli.

The Wallabies, though, fought back with a try from Fraser McReight before Juan Martin Gonzalez finished off a fine Argentina counter-attack in the corner to further extend the Pumas lead at 26-17.

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A penalty try started Australia’s recovery before Reece Hodge kicked them into the lead for the first time just after the hour mark, with hooker Folau Fainga’a going over for another score and Len Ikitau touching down a bonus-point try during stoppage time to complete the turnaround.

additional reporting PA

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