Cooper recalled to Wallabies training squad
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Quade Cooper has been recalled to Australia’s training squad for the first time this year for next week’s test against New Zealand.
The 26-year-old Cooper, who is coming back from surgery on his left shoulder, was included in a 32-man squad Friday, a day after Kurtley Beale was dropped pending the outcome of a code-of-conduct tribunal hearing.
Australia finished the Rugby Championship with two wins, a draw against New Zealand and back-to-back away losses to South Africa and Argentina and is playing for pride in the third Bledisloe Cup test of the year, at Brisbane on Oct. 18.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said he wanted to see how Cooper, a 50-test veteran, trained and performed after nine months out of the national team. He will cut the squad to 23 players next week, with Cooper likely to take a spot on the bench if he’s fit.
“You’re always searching for the right balance of experience and youth in a squad, so it’s pleasing to see Quade Cooper available once again,” McKenzie said. “A spot in the starting lineup might be a stretch, I don’t know. I’ll form an opinion when I see him and see how he looks.”
Fiji-born winger Henry Speight was also included in the squad, among four uncapped players, but is unavailable for selection due to a hamstring problem.
Center Matt Toomua was not considered due to a recent concussion and Beale wasn’t considered for selection due to the ongoing investigation into his mid-flight argument with team officials during the Wallabies’ flight from South Africa to Argentina last week, and subsequent revelations of allegedly “deeply offensive” text messages he distributed in June.
Props: Ben Alexander, Tetera Faulkner, Sekope Kepu, Benn Robinson, James Slipper.
Hookers: Saia Faingaa, James Hanson, Josh Mann-Rea.
Locks: Sam Carter, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton.
Backrowers: Scott Fardy, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Michael Hooper (captain), Luke Jones, Jake Schatz.
Halves: Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley.
Outside backs: Kyle Godwin, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom English, Israel Folau, Rob Horne, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane.