Rugby: Genia backs Cooper as selection looms

Quade Cooper is fighting for inclusion in the Wallabies. Photo / Richard Robinson
Quade Cooper is fighting for inclusion in the Wallabies. Photo / Richard Robinson

In a not-so-subtle hint to Robbie Deans, Wallabies halfback Will Genia has said he never feels more comfortable than when Quade Cooper is at five-eighths.

As the Wallabies coach sifts through his No10 options ahead of the Lions series, Genia pushed his Queensland Reds teammate's cause ahead of Friday night's clash with the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.

Cooper faces stiff opposition with Matt Toomua, Christian Lealiifano, James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale also vying for the chance to partner Genia in the Wallabies halves.

While Genia admitted he was frustrated by the Reds' "stuttering" attack, he all but endorsed Cooper as his right-hand man for the Lions series, which starts in Brisbane on June 22.

"I love playing with Quade. I don't feel as comfortable as I do with him," Genia said yesterday. "We've played together for a long time - I really enjoy that combination.

"More than anything it is a trust thing. In whatever decision each makes we back and support each other."

Cooper - who was fined last year for his "toxic" comments about the Wallabies camp under Deans - was at his diplomatic best when asked about Wallabies selection yesterday.

"It all depends on what the coach and the selectors are looking for.

"Personally I am doing my best to work with Will, get the best out of each other and the Reds - I am not looking further than that," he said.

Australia are due to name their squad on May 19 before the Lions begin their 10-match tour against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1.

-AAP

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