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Safe approach for Cooper

Australia coach Robbie Deans has backed Quade Cooper to make a full recovery from knee surgery, but concedes the enigmatic fly-half is unlikely to feature in the June Tests against Scotland and Wales.

Cooper ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in the first half of the third-place play-off against Wales in October, capping off a poor Rugby World Cup campaign for the New Zealand-born Wallaby.

"Unlikely, but the likelihood is that he will be back playing prior to that, but when remains to be seen," Deans said when asked if Cooper will feature in the one-off Test against the Scots or any of the three fixtures against Wales.

"He's only just started running again obviously so there's a lot of hurdles he's got to clear without setback but the early indications are very good.

"The critical thing for Quade in his words is when he comes back he wants to be more than ready, so he's not going to rush back just simply to be back which is a good outlook.

"Quade's going well. I watched him run yesterday. He's in good spirits and he's in no doubt that the adversity he's been through will make him stronger. He wants to come back fitter than ever and stronger than ever."

Asked if he has conducted a post-World Cup debrief with Cooper, who struggled under the intense scrutiny after earning public enemy number one status in New Zealand, Deans replied: "Immediately after the semi-final (loss to the All Blacks) we obviously spent a bit of time together but after that we didn't have a lot of opportunity because we went off shore and Quade had his operation.

"I caught up with him yesterday and spent quite a bit of time with him, so that was good and we'll have a lot of dialogue from this point forward."

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