The Quade Cooper question: To boo or not to boo?

It's fair to say we have history. The New Zealand rugby public and Quade Cooper...well, we just don't get along.

So what are to make of this request that we no longer jeer and boo our rugby Public Enemy No. 1?

Is Beauden Barrett right? Is it time for us to move on and get over ourselves by leaving Quade alone? Time to shift the smirking Eddie Jones as England's new supremo in there instead perhaps?

Good luck with that one.

Is Quade Cooper still worth booing?

When Cooper runs out with No. 10 on his back at the Cake Tin tomorrow night, the jeers will flow as strongly as the beers.

And it's all because we love a good villain. And when it comes to delivering in that role, Quade provides the masterclass so often lacking when he's on the field against a team playing in black.

It's hard to think of a more polarising Wallabies player in recent memory. Phil Kearns maybe? But even then the happy hooker never quite received the degree of Kiwi vitriol reserved for Cooper who has been handed the driver's keys in Wellington by a desperate Michael Cheika.

It's a helluva challenge. After a flirtation with the Australian sevens team and other dramas, Cooper hasn't actually played a full game of 15s in close to four months.

Tomorrow night could be speed whir in front of his bewildered eyes if the All Blacks replicate the first half pace of the Sydney showdown.

Four reasons why Quade will probably have a sleepness night in Wellington


Cooper will never be forgiven by most New Zealand rugby fans for one reason - he went after Richie.

Cooper v McCaw round one occurred in Hong Kong in 2010, when the Wallabies No 10 pushed the captain's head into the ground during a try celebration.

There was a rematch in Brisbane in 2011 when Cooper kneed McCaw in the head. The Wallaby was subsequently booed mercilessly during that year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Cooper struggled in the Wallabies' semi-final loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park and in his 2012 biography McCaw wrote that "players like Quade get sorted."

But there has since been a softening in their relationship.

McCaw told Brisbane's The Courier-Mail in 2014 that he was over it.

"It is all in the past. We have chats after games now," McCaw said. "I never had an issue with him. There were a couple of things in games but that's rugby.

"Quade Cooper's a decent bloke. We have had beers in the change rooms together."

In 2011, Cooper claimed he was enjoying the notoriety.

"I don't mind being public enemy No 1. It's going to come with the territory," he said. "I actually enjoy it. I get a buzz all the time. Reading my Twitter there is a lot of guys who have their own opinions, some not necessarily nice. I like reading through them and getting back to most of them."


Cooper can be rocked. He first began to show mental fragility during the 2011 World Cup. It hasn't gone away. As recently as last year, he blew up in Argentina during the Rugby Championship and fired off a bizarre early morning tweet following Australia's big win over the Pumas.

The reason for his Mendoza meltdown?

Cooper had reportedly read an inflammatory piece by leading New Zealand Herald columnist Chris Rattue, who wrote: "Go on Michael Cheika. Dare you. Keep picking Quade Cooper as the Wallabies' World Cup linchpin.

"Coach Cheika is playing with fire in World Cup year, relying on the nutty No 10 to guide the ship."

Cooper later apologised for his Twitter outburst, saying: "There was some online criticism directed at me personally.

"I'm disappointed in that but I'm human, I've got feelings. That's it. I've never been one to read into media but this one time it caught my eye.

"I'm disappointed in myself for getting trapped in that. At the end of the day, I'm in a professional environment and it got to me this one time."


Wallaby coach Michael Cheika is a big Cooper fan. He keeps going back to him. He has greater faith than many a man.

Asked about Cooper's past experience in New Zealand, Cheika responds: "When you are in enemy territory and the crowd is giving it to you, that's probably a good thing."


Look away Quade. Most current Wallabies players have poor records against the All Blacks. Cooper's makes for particularly poor reading.

- The Wallabies have a 2-8 record against the All Blacks in Tests Cooper has played in.
- Cooper's only try against the All Blacks came in the Wallabies' epic 26-24 win in Hong Kong six years ago.
- Cooper has lost his last six Tests against the All Blacks dating back to 2011.

Justin Marshall says Cooper has a mental block against the All Blacks. "They know how to get under his skin," said the former halfback. "When you look at his performances he's never had a good game against the All Blacks."

- NZ Herald

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