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Farrell pleased by Cooper absence

Andy Farrell says he is "pretty pleased" that mercurial fly-half Quade Cooper has not clinched a place in Australia's squad for the three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions.

Cooper was not among the six names added by coach Robbie Deans to complete a 31-man Wallabies squad, despite starring for Queensland Reds in last Saturday's clash against the Lions.

"If I was a coach I would want him (Cooper) in my side," Lions assistant coach Farrell said.

"Having said that, I don't know the background and the ins and outs of why he ain't selected. He's certainly a handful, he brings a lot to the party, so I am pretty pleased.

"With (Kurtley) Beale back in the squad and O'Connor and (Adam) Ashley-Cooper, they've got a magnificent back-line. But Quade adds something a bit different."

Last year, Cooper was fined and suspended after he described the atmosphere in Australia's camp under Deans as "toxic". James O'Connor is odds-on favourite to wear the Australia number 10 shirt against the Lions in Brisbane on June 22.

Farrell, meanwhile, has dismissed any suggestion of paranoia in the Lions camp regarding apparent Australian surveillance of their playing movements.

Farrell's comments echoed those of Lions head coach Warren Gatland, who said "there was no allegation of spying" aimed at the Australian camp and that he had "no issue" with the Australians videoing last week's Western Force game in Perth.

The Australian Rugby Union subsequently issued a statement, "flatly denying that anyone connected to the Wallabies has been involved in filming or watching the Lions at training".

Wallabies boss Deans claimed the whole affair was "just a sideshow," and Lions assistant coach Farrell said: "We are not paranoid. If we are paranoid about getting things right then yes, we are. You've got to get things right."


From Belfast Telegraph