'Very consistent guy with his emotions': White backs Cooper to return for World Cup
Cooper was a casualty of the Wallabies’ opening Rugby Championship victory over Argentina, with the team rallying after his early second-half exit to post a 41-26 victory.
Before returning to Australia for surgery 34-year-old Cooper posted a message on social media declaring himself ready for the challenge of recovering in time for the France tournament, which gets underway in early September.
Speaking from Argentina, White described his halves partner as one of the most professional players he had seen and backed him to reach his goal.
“The lows don’t get him too low and the highs, he certainly doesn’t ride them and doesn’t get caught up in that, he’s a very consistent guy with his emotions,” White said.
“He was in pretty good spirits considering the injury that he had just had and was already talking about the path that he’s happy to take on.
“I’ve got no doubt that he is the right type of guy that will probably come back sooner than expected and be in some phenomenal shape when he comes back.”
Youngster Noah Lolesio, who wore the No.10 jersey through the England series with Cooper then battling a calf injury, or James O’Connor are the likely starters for the second Test against the Pumas in San Juan on Sunday morning (AEST).
Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper will again be missing, returning home to Australia for mental health reasons.
The Australians dedicated the Mendoza Test victory to Hooper, saying they wanted to make the veteran flanker proud.
White said he had since spoken with Hooper, with no timeline set for his return to rugby.
“We’ve been in touch – I spoke to him after the game once he touched down and he was obviously stoked with the result.
“We’ll stay in contact with him and he’s got a lot of support around him and the staff have put a good plan in place for him.”
While the Wallabies savoured the bonus-point victory, which put them on top of the Rugby Championship standings, White said there was plenty to work on ahead of game two.
He said their slow start which left them trailing 19-10 at halftime was disappointing, as was their discipline which saw them incur 10 first-half penalties
“It was a big week, great result for us, but there’s plenty for us to fix,” White said.
“A pretty shaky start, discipline was a big one for us, still getting on top of the amount of turnovers we’re making.
“We’re heading in the right direction but still still got so many steps forward to make.
“We’re going have to go another level because the Pumas will be disappointed with how they played on the weekend and they will be fired up.”
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