Rugby

Will Quade Cooper face the Springboks again?

Dave Rennie, the Wallabies' coach, will be preparing his team for a vastly different task for the World Champions than the three Bledisloe Cup games against the All Blacks, which the All Blacks won all three games.

Or will the Boks face a completely different backline in Sunday’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship fixture in Brisbane, one that is geared for a lot more kicking?

Dave Rennie, the Wallabies’ coach, will be preparing his team for a vastly different task for the World Champions than the three Bledisloe Cup games against the All Blacks, which the All Blacks won all three games.

But, although the forward challenge is one thing, the Wallabies will be on high alert for the Boks’ kicking game, so what are the possibilities that the Wallabies will turn to Cooper if James O’Connor is ruled out again with injury?

The errant playmaker has had his share of issues over the years, but he remains one of the top offensive options in world rugby, and his return to the starting line-up for the Australians in Sunday’s first encounter, combined with Reece Hodge’s powerful boot, is a distinct possibility.

For the past few games, the Wallabies have stuck with 21-year-old Noah Lolesio, but he has struggled to make an impact against the All Blacks, and the team also has Matt To’omua as a backup.

Obviously, whoever they choose will be focused on the Boks’ box kicking plan, and while the Wallabies will still want to run the Boks off their feet, they will need a boost in this area as well.

Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams, who remarked after the game that Cooper was the Wallabies’ missing link, believes Cooper should have been there.

Williams commented on Stan Sport’s post-game commentary, “The non-selection that confused me before the game was the non-selection of Quade Cooper.”

“I know it’ll come out as prejudiced because I’m close to him, but just from a rugby standpoint, what he can add…

“Brother Reece is Mr Fix-It, he’s a tremendous player, but I think Quade is your man in terms of unlocking this amazing All Blacks defense.”

The lack of belief in the Wallabies camp, according to Williams, led to their demise, and they will bet on their chances against the Springboks.

“For me, it’s a lack of conviction in their own skill set, a lack of belief in pressing the trigger when the timing is perfect, as we saw in that 20-minute period when the All Blacks were down to 14 men,” said the two-time Rugby World Cup winner.

“They didn’t pull the trigger at all, whereas the All Blacks appear to believe that.” When they had a man down, they still pulled the trigger.”

Meanwhile, Wallaby coach Dave Rennie anticipates his team to perform far better against the World Champions Springboks, especially after failing the test so repeatedly against the All Blacks.

“I arrived with my eyes wide open. Rennie stated, “We have a lot of good men who are working extremely hard.” “We’ve played the All Blacks in seven tests. It’s fantastic for us, in my opinion. We’re picking up on things rapidly.

“We have the world champs [South Africa] coming up for a couple of tests,” says the coach. That will be beneficial to us as well.

“There’s no doubt that we need to improve. However, I continue to believe we are on the right track. “Over the next few weeks, we need to see proof of that.”

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