Wynne Gray on sport

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Cooper impressing no one with sideline snipes

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Somehow Cooper has cooked up a theory that playing for the Wallabies is destroying him. Photo / Getty
Somehow Cooper has cooked up a theory that playing for the Wallabies is destroying him. Photo / Getty

The things we do for Australia.

They have been quite content to pinch Phar Lap and Split Enz and for a while it seemed Quade Cooper filled out enough larrikin content to be classed as Ocker.

His array of moves was quite dazzling for the Reds at Super 15 level but in tests they sagged like a pavlova (another New Zealand icon they flogged) which couldn't stand the heat of the oven.

Now Cooper does not even want to play for the Sunburned Country.

He's claiming that even if he was picked he would turn down the chance.

Hey Quade, you've got more chance of going for an all-expenses two-week holiday with the Deans family than wearing the gold No 10 jersey.

Somehow Cooper has cooked up a theory that playing for the Wallabies is destroying him and that he is being poisoned by the "toxic" atmosphere.

The tone may not be 100 per cent because the Wallabies have produced some very modest work this season.

But ask yourself what Cooper has brought to the team this year.

He returned late from a knee reconstruction for the Reds, produced some fairly blotchy form and then, largely on history and a lack of rivals, was readmitted to the Wallabies.

Now he's damaged again and spouting his anti-Wallaby messages.

Cooper reckoned he was a much stronger person during his comeback, that he had got the game and his ideas straight.

His problem is he wants to play test rugby on instinct instead of the gut feel and team intelligence needed at that international level.

Cooper may not like Deans or his methods but his avenue for change is to play well, get selected and persuade Deans to use his ideas.

Instead he is sounding toxic from the sidelines.

Think about how many tests against the All Blacks or top nations in which Cooper has stood up and shown some serious control under pressure. Not enough to be a top-rated five eighths.

He gives the impression of someone who wants to be lead guitarist even though he can't tune his own instrument.

His inflated self-worth is not helped by the small pool of talent in Australia.

The Wallabies have gifted players such as Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor and Cooper whose prowess promotes them even though they have still to fully understand professionalism and its connotations.

- NZ Herald

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