Deans enjoying fly-half tussle
May 10, 2010
Quade Cooper has been hard to ignore this season © Getty Images
Australia coach Robbie Deans has admitted that the form of Quade Cooper has given him a conundrum at fly-half prior to the Wallabies' opening Tests of the year.
The Reds pivot has been in sparkling form of late and along with scrum-half Will Genia has formed the most potent halfback partnership in this season's Super 14.
On the Wallabies' end-of-season tour in 2009 Cooper was deployed at inside-centre following an injury to Berrick Barnes, with Matt Giteau at No.10. Now Deans must choose between pedigree in Giteau and form in Cooper as he prepares for Tests against England and Ireland in June.
"There's no doubt they [Cooper and Genia] will be familiar with each other and confident with each other off the back of what they've been doing," Deans told AAP. "But we have a number of options there. We've now got choice, whereas we didn't have choice a year ago. That's great, it's a good problem to have but more importantly it's a good solution to have. Injuries and form won't derail our program. It does give us the ability to be flexible in our squad."
Genia, who will again roll out in the green and gold No.9 jersey this season, was diplomatic in his fielding of the question and believes that Giteau's class and track record mean that he should have 'first crack' at fly-half.
"I think Quade has had an outstanding season but you still have Matt Giteau out there and there's no doubting the class of him," Genia said. "He's been so good for so long and anyone with that standing and that ability should have first crack."
Deans also believes that we will see a more attack-minded Australian side this season due to the new tackle interpretations, a fact that plays into the hands of both Cooper and Giteau.
"I think you'll see less conservatism, a lot more willingness to attack," Deans said."We don't want to come close, we want to get home. We'll be prepared to take risks to achieve that."