Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Jones wary of Cooper threat

Wales fly-half Stephen Jones readily accepts that Australian playmaker Quade Cooper is "different to anything else out there."

Cooper has teased and tormented opposition defences throughout his fledgling international career. And he is comfortably capable of doing the same to Wales in Saturday's autumn Test series opener at the Millennium Stadium.

"He is a quality player," said Jones.

Jones, who is set to win his 92nd cap this weekend, has opposed numerous top-flight number 10s since entering the Test match arena as a 20-year-old in 1998.

He can reel off almost a fly-half who's who - Dan Carter, Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau and Ronan O'Gara, to name just four - but Cooper's often unconventional, unpredictable approach spells danger alongside the best of them.

Jones added: "In a lot of senses, he is different to anything else out there. His footwork is fantastic, his kicking game is very good and he poses defences a lot of problems.

"His footwork is so good he very rarely gets wrapped up in the tackle and, because of that, he off-loads a lot.

"You very rarely see him die with the ball or go fully into contact with it. He just sees things very early.

"At the back, we've got to make sure we mark as much space as we can. We can't give this guy big chunks of field to aim at because he will make us pay."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph