Australian Rugby
Quade Cooper taking nothing for granted
August 7, 2013
Australia's Quade Cooper warms up for his side's clash with Argentina, Southport School, Gold Coast, Australia, September 13, 2012,
Quade Cooper is taking nothing for granted after a long spell outside the Wallabies fold © PA Photos

Quade Cooper has the most Test experience of any No.10 in the Wallabies squad, and he is a firm favourite of coach Ewen McKenzie, but he isn't taking his return to Australia's starting team as a certainty.

Back in the Test fold for the first time in almost a year, Cooper is locked in a three-way battle for the Wallabies playmaker for the first Rugby Championship clash with the All Blacks on August 17.

Brumbies young gun Matt Toomua and the Waratahs' Bernard Foley are also vying for the role as part of an extended 40-man squad. McKenzie will trim 10 players from the squad on Friday, with one of the fly-halves expected to make way and Cooper is taking nothing for granted.

"Every position is hotly contested and number 10 is no different," Cooper said. "I see it as an opportunity to learn off each player. There's two other guys who are great players and who have done a great job for their teams throughout the year."

"Matty (Toomua) and (the Brumbies) were in the (Super Rugby) finals and we (the Reds) had to sit on the sidelines and watch," Cooper said. "Bernard did a great job for the Waratahs, taking them as far as they did. From where they were last year and where they are now, it's a great transformation."

"So I've just got to come here with an open mind. Obviously you can't look at yourself as being the best at everything. There's going to be things that I'll bring to the team and things that they'll bring to the team," Cooper added. "So as long as we can learn off each other and try and contribute as much to the team as possible, I'm sure whoever is picked in the position can do a great job for the team."

Cooper is back in the Wallabies squad for the first time since last September, after he was on the outer with former coach Robbie Deans over his now infamous 'toxic environment' statement. The 25-year-old admitted his time away from the national set up had helped him rediscover his hunger for the game and was hopeful to get a first-up crack at the All Blacks.

"When you have time away from the game, whether it be for your club side or your national team, whenever you're selected for that team again the hunger is always there," Cooper said. "But for me my work ethic away from the team is what I've had to work on the most. Not knowing if you're going to be involved in the team, that's something when you're away from the team you've got to work hard on. Then if you are lucky enough to be called up, then you're ready to go."

© Sportal

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