Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

I can handle heat - Cooper

Quade Cooper is not feeling the pressure of being Australia's chief playmaker at the World Cup.

A certainty to start in the number 10 shirt, Cooper will occupy the most creative position on the field - fly-half - and the expectation upon him is huge. Added to the fact that he is the Wallabies' goalkicker, it could be easy for the 23-year-old to buckle under the weight of the pressure on him.

"I love it - that's why I love wearing the number 10 jersey," Cooper said. "It's basically the quarterback of the team and you get to direct and call the shots, but a lot falls on your shoulders."

He added: "If the team doesn't do well you're going to cop it. If the team goes well then you're most likely to get the applause for it."

Cooper's decision to choose Australia over the country of his birth means he has rarely been out of the headlines as it is, especially after once admitting he was looking forward to filling the role of public enemy in New Zealand, where he was born.

He has hardly hidden from the abuse either, with a shove in the back of Kiwi captain Richie McCaw during the recent Tri Nations series adding to the sideshow.

Cooper, though, insists there is no real animosity - at least on his part.

"I don't know. You'd have to ask him. From my point of view there's not," Cooper said.

"It's just a matter of he's wearing a different jersey. I've got 14 other blokes on the field who have my back. He's got 14 other blokes on his team that are really looking to dominate us as well.

"I don't know the bloke. I haven't had much to do with him off the field but I know that when he's out on the field he plays his heart out, wears his heart on his sleeve and does a great job of leading the All Blacks around the park."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph