Rugby World Cup 2011
Cooper defiant in defeat
ESPNscrum Staff
October 17, 2011
Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper looks on, New Zealand v Australia, Rugby World Cup, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, October 16, 2011
Quade Cooper looked lost during Sunday's Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat by New Zealand © Getty Images

Quade Cooper believes that all of the abuse he has suffered during the Wallabies' Rugby World Cup campaign will only make him stronger.

The Reds playmaker has been public enemy No.1 in New Zealand on account of the fact that he was born in Waikato and yet declared for Australia, and also because of his alleged feud on with All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw.

Consequently, the locals took great satisfaction out of Cooper's underwhelming display in the Wallabies' 20-6 semi-final defeat by the All Blacks in Auckland on Sunday.

Cooper, though, insisted afterwards that the constant stream of negativity which has been directed towards him over the past five weeks has actually been of benefit to him.

"Everyone is trying to get at me personally," the Wallabies No.10 said. "I think I'm definitely going to be better off for it.

"The way everyone came at me from all angles, whether it be media, the crowd, trying to make a big buzz out of it. I got used to it and I think I grew a lot of confidence out of it.

"I'm not in a position to point fingers about that or have a cry about it. It's there, it's going to happen and it has happened. For me it was just about getting on and doing the best that I could for my team and I feel that I did that.

"It's been the case throughout the whole tournament from the minute I stepped off the plane, to the minute I'm sure that I get on the plane.

"I'm sure that everybody will have their opinion, their voices, and whatever that be I'm not going to try and make any perception any different. I am who I am. I'm going to play the way that I play and whether you like it or not, that's me."

Despite the fact that he has been subjected to so much vitriol during his time in New Zealand, Cooper showed no bitterness or ill will towards the hosts after their semi-final success.

"It was a very tough night," he said. "That showed by the intensity and accuracy that they brought to the game. Right across the board they were making it a personal contest between each player and at the end of the day they came out on top."

Still, while admitting that the Aussies had come off a clear second best, Cooper believes that Robbie Deans' side have plenty of grounds for optimism moving forward.

"We're pretty down about losing a semi-final in a World Cup. For a lot of the boys it was their first World Cup, but I'm sure it won't be their last," he said. "Everyone's looking to the future now because we can't get this game back, but we can look forward to what's to come."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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