Rugby: Wallabies eyeing Tri Nations trophy

Cooper wants to get their hands on the Tri-Nations trophy for the first time in a decade. Photo / Getty Images
Cooper wants to get their hands on the Tri-Nations trophy for the first time in a decade. Photo / Getty Images

Quade Cooper believes the resurgent Wallabies are beautifully placed to crown their Rugby World Cup build-up with a Tri Nations title triumph over New Zealand.

Australia's defiant 14-9 victory in Durban over the most-capped Springboks outfit of all time left the tournament wide open, with the title set to be decided when the Wallabies and All Blacks clash in Brisbane on August 27.

Only an unlikely four-try, bonus-point victory could scupper Australia's hopes but New Zealand will have a second-string side minus Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and several other big guns not travelling to South Africa for Saturday's Test with the Springboks.

Cooper said getting their hands on the elusive trophy for the first time in a decade would be the perfect stage setter before the Wallabies kick off their RWC campaign against Italy in Auckland on September 11.

"This definitely sets the tone," he said.

"The Tri Nations is still up for grabs. If we go back to Brisbane and win that game and put a bit of silverware in the cabinet, we'll reassess our goals about going across the Tasman and entering the World Cup and hopefully win and be victorious there."

The classy playmaker said Australia's disjointed defeat last start against New Zealand in Auckland may have been the eye opener the Wallabies needed.

"We learnt a lot out of that game and definitely the biggest was that you've got to earn the right to play," Cooper said.

"Last week we went wide all the time without earning that right to play. This game we really got into the game by the forwards getting across the advantage line and the backs doing some hard yards and bashing it up.

"The easy option is to go wide, but we really took it on the chin this week to take it up the middle, do the hard work and create the space out wide for people like James (O'Connor) and Kurtley (Beale).

"Now we have a week off to go and look over our game plan and travel back to Brisbane and see where we can attack the All Blacks."

Cooper hailed Australia's "massive defensive effort" in denying the Boks a single try on home turf as another big confidence booster.

"We knew that they were going to come out firing. Look at the guys they reinstated to the starting line-up," he said.

"All those guys are very passionate and any time you come and play South Africa at home, they're always going to come out with a hiss and a roar and it was just about trying to weather that storm.

"They threw everything at us and credit to the boys for not letting them cross our line. That defensive effort really set the tone."

- AAP

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