Australian Rugby
Ashley-Cooper ignores Quade's outburst
ESPN Staff
September 25, 2012
Adam Ashley-Cooper in training with the Wallabies, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney, Australia, July 25, 2012
Adam Ashley-Cooper will hope to help Australia to victory on Saturday © Getty Images

Australia's Adam Ashley-Cooper is adamant that the mood in the Wallabies' camp is fine despite controversial fly-half Quade Cooper describing it as "toxic".

Cooper is currently sidelined with a knee injury but he took to his Twitter account to attack the Australian Rugby Union over the weekend. He then later clarified these statements when talking to the press yesterday and although he stated his support for coach Robbie Deans, he also hit out at the current environment in the Wallabies camp.

Australia play South Africa this weekend in Pretoria and Ashley-Cooper, who has started all four of their matches in the Rugby Championship so far, is adamant that the camp are paying Cooper's outbursts no attention.

"This won't be a distraction for us," Ashley-Cooper said. "There's a great buzz in the squad and we're excited to be here. We've had two good wins in this competition and we feel we're building as a group."

Australia have won their last two matches in the Rugby Championship with victories over South Africa and Argentina but coach Deans is under pressure due to their poor record against trans-Tasman rivals the All Blacks. Australia have a lengthy injury list at present - similar to the Boks - but Ashley-Cooper is trying to take the positives out of the situation.

"The Springboks are facing similar challenges to us with a lot of injuries and having to give opportunities to younger players," Ashley-Cooper said. "They are coming off two disappointing losses so they'll be pretty motivated and we expect it to be really tough to win in Pretoria on Saturday.

"Playing there is always pretty tough, you're usually up against quality opposition and a hostile crowd that they feed off. Plus the altitude and the pace of the game there means it's always a challenge. A win is something we've never achieved before in Pretoria ... so there's a lot of motivation for us."

In related news, hooker Stephen Moore has returned to Australia due to a hamstring injury. James Hanson is likely to replace Moore on the bench for the Wallabies against the Springboks.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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