Quade Cooper wants Test No.10 back
ESPN Staff
December 2, 2014
Quade Cooper wants a shot at redemption in the Wallabies No.10 jersey at the World Cup © Getty Images

Quade Cooper has set his sights on winning back the Wallabies No.10 jersey, and is planning to use next year's Super Rugby season as a catalyst for a return to the run-on side.

Cooper started just once on the Wallabies' ill-fated spring tour, the opening 40-36 win over the Barbarians, but was forced to bide his time from the bench for the other four fixtures as coach Michael Cheika preferred Waratahs fly-half Bernard Foley in the playmaking role. But with a couple of handy second-half cameos behind him, Cooper is now focusing on the 2015 Super Rugby season and the Australian local derbies, in particular, as he looks to regain the prized No.10 jersey for next year's Rugby World Cup.

"The point of next year is that everyone is working to get a starting spot," Cooper told News Corp before the Wallabies left London. "No-one is saying that they're going to be a back-up player. All the guys are vying for starting positions right across the board. As Cheik says, we're going to go back and bash each other in the Super Rugby competition.

England 26-17 Australia (Australia only)

"When we come up against Waratahs, Brumbies, Force and Melbourne, we're pushing each other because we're saying, I want that position, you want that position. I'm going to help you be a better player and in turn you're going to help me be a better player. It's that competitive edge that's going to help us as a team continue to grow."

Cooper's best performance off the bench in Europe came in the 29-26 loss to France, the Queenslander setting up a try for Rob Simmons which gave the Wallabies an outside chance of victory. He also impressed alongside fellow replacement Kurtley Beale in the weekend's loss to England, the duo providing adding an attacking spark that helped free up space for Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Still, Cooper said his newfound bench responsibilities had taken some fine-tuning. "It's been something I've had to adjust to," he said. "It's different. Everyone loves starting but you have to do what's best for the team and try to create a positive platform when you do come on."

England end Autumn fixtures with win over Australia

Cooper is looking to wipe the memory of a disastrous 2011 World Cup campaign where he gleefully accepted the role as New Zealand's public enemy No.1, which proved unwise, and then suffered a devastating knee injury in the third-place play-off against Wales. It took at least 18 months of recovery before the New Zealand-born playmaker rediscovered his famous stepping and sleight of hand, and it seems the crowd taunts may also now be behind him.

"That sort of crowd reaction is something I've been able to adapt to over the past few years," he said. "When I go back and play Super Rugby in New Zealand, it hasn't changed. It's something that builds for a big atmosphere, but it's something that, whether it's right or wrong, I've learnt to deal with.

"I've practised, I think about it when I'm training, when I'm kicking goals. I think about those sorts of things as something you've got to go through. Being able to look back at that 2011 World Cup, if that's the worst possible scenario, then I can definitely grow from it."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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