All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is sure maverick Quade Cooper will return to Eden Park on Saturday as the Wallabies search for ways to unleash their attacking potential.

Hansen said Cooper was likely to be in the frame, either starting or on the reserves bench, for an Australia team desperate to get the win they need to keep their Bledisloe Cup hopes alive.

If he is involved, the pressure would be firmly on the New Zealand-born No10, who was reviled by All Blacks supporters last year during an unhappy World Cup for him and Australia.

Cooper, who went into the tournament happy to be labelled Public Enemy No 1 after his off-the-ball targeting of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw in earlier tests, played poorly in the semifinal defeat at Eden Park, and then suffered a serious knee injury during the third and fourth play-off against Wales which delayed his start for the Reds in this year's Super Rugby competition.


He was also put under extreme pressure by the All Blacks in the Tri Nations test at Eden Park in August last year, a match which the home side comfortably won.

Eyebrows were raised last week when Robbie Deans went for the conservative Berrick Barnes, with Cooper left out of the squad altogether, and Hansen today alluded to the player's frailties when saying: "He's a pretty talented player and he's got some amazing abilities and skills and causes a lot of damage, but his greatest strength is his greatest weakness, like all of us."

"Each individual has a great strength but it's also the same weakness that you have and if you over-play it you become a bit predictable. He's had a pretty good shake-up, he's spoken of how much it's hurt not to be there so I'm sure if he gets selected he'll come out firing.''

Deans will be forced to make at least one change after the dispiriting 27-19 loss in Sydney on Saturday, with the news that captain and openside flanker David Pocock has been ruled out due to a knee injury.

Will Genia will captain the team, and Deans, under pressure to improve an attack which has reaped just six tries in the past five tests, would do well to position Cooper outside the halfback. History is also against the Wallabies, who haven't won at Eden Park since 1986.

Hansen said high on the All Blacks' agenda this week will be improving their lineout, and upping their performance in general.

"When there's something in your performance that you're not completely happy with, that allows you to dig a bit deeper than you possibly would if you come off a super performance,'' he said.

"One of the challenges we set ourselves this year is not just about looking at the opponent and dealing with that side of it, it's also about dealing with the competition you have with yourself; to see if you can be better than you were the last time you played. In sport that's a major thing to be able to do.''


Loosehead prop Tony Woodcock is the only All Blacks casualty from Sydney and a decision would be made on him tomorrow, Hansen said. Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett would be his replacement if he is ruled out.