Super Rugby Round 20 - Waratahs v Reds
Quade Cooper focused only on 'doing a job'
July 12, 2013
Quade Cooper acknowledges the debt he owes Ewen McKenzie © Getty Images
Quade Cooper refuses to look beyond Super Rugby round 20 despite the widespread thought that he will walk back into Australia's Test team for the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship now his Queensland Reds coach, Ewen McKenzie, is in charge of the Wallabies.
Cooper has not played for the Wallabies since he described the team environment as "toxic" in 2012, and he was a controversial omission from squad that ultimately lost the Tom Richards Cup to the British & Irish Lions, Robbie Deans preferring to use James O'Connor as his fly-half in the three-Test series.
But he is focused only on the Reds' Super Rugby round 20 match against New South Wales Waratahs at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday, for the Bob Templeton Cup, a fixture in which the Reds need him to play a leadership role alongside captain James Slipper in the injury-enforced absence of Will Genia and James Horwill.
"This is a massive game for the Reds and that's why I can't look too far ahead," Cooper told Rugby Gold. "For me it is about focusing on the team I'm involved in and the Reds have some massive games coming up with this finals series. There's four games to win the Super Rugby championship and we are jumping out of our skins to do that."
Quade Cooper recently spoke exclusive to ESPNscrum reporter Tom Hamilton © ESPNscrum
Cooper, earlier in the week, played a dead bat when asked about his relationship with Deans dating back to the tweet in which Cooper described the Wallabies culture as "toxic".
"I know that is something a lot of people are going to ask but I am not going to get into [criticising Deans]," Cooper told The Australian.
"Of course I found it really hard to watch the Tests against the Lions. Playing Test rugby for Australia is the pinnacle of the game, and that is what I wake up every morning wanting to work towards. Not getting the chance to do that, not being part of the squad ... it hurt. But I am not going to dwell on it. I have no hard feelings towards Robbie Deans. I am not going to get caught up in that. I have never been one to dwell on the past. The past is the past and that's where I want to leave it."
Cooper announced his focus "on doing a job for the Queensland Reds this weekend", he preferred to praise McKenzie for his Wallabies appointment and acknowledge the coach's role in his own development.
"He has done so much for me and my career - I do feel like I owe him and I'd love the chance to repay the faith he has always shown in me. From the moment he arrived at the Reds he has taken a personal interest in each and every one of us, both as people and as players and I think you can see the results that that approach has gotten him.
"The thing I can say about Ewen is that if you are prepared to do what he asks of you and you are prepared to do the work, he will stick by you. It's the thing every player who has played under him will tell you. You know you are going to get a fair go playing under Ewen."
Wallabies players have applauded the appointment of Ewen McKenzie
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