Quade Cooper: Rugby Genius

Did you see it?  Did you see Quade Cooper’s two ridiculous line-breaks and offloads for the Queensland Reds in Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final against the Auckland Blues?  The first, a hand-off followed by two outrgeous dummies, a sprint up the line and an absurd offload to a support runner who was at least five metres away, set up a magnificent try. The second involved quick footwork and superb ball-handling to create space between two defenders, followed by a behind-the-back offload to the supporting flanker, Higginbotham, who was eventually tackled, but a penalty was secured.  Both were simply breathtaking – so good in fact that you’d be forgiven for overlooking the bullet-speed cut-out pass that set up Rod Davies to score his second try that followed in the second half. 

If you didn’t see it, it’s all free to view here, and we encourage you to do so.  As a Eurosport commentator once said, ‘If you’re a fan of brilliance and spectacular action, you’ll want to see this’.

It all has us slightly terrified of facing Australia in the World Cup.  We’ve seen Kurtley Beale shred defences in recent weeks, now Quade Cooper looks even more devastating an attacking threat.  Could he be the equal of Dan Carter?  A grand total of twelve points missed from the kicking tee would indicate that he still has a bit to go (what is it with these Aussie geniuses who can’t place kick for toffee?). Might Australia have a backline to match even that of the Kiwis?  Next week’s final against the Crusaders will give some indication – it cannot come soon enough.



  1. As a kiwi, its difficult to admit that Cooper is actually quite good – kicking and tackling aside of course. I do find his prancing and posing a bit tiresome (what's with the popeye stance when he's addressing the ball?) but he's dangerous with ball in hand. Watching both matches on Saturday I was actually quite encouraged for both NZ and Irish chances at the world cup. The Aussies definitely have line-breaking backs that if not shut down will cause some difficulty. However, they don't have a pack (except for a good loosie or two) and whilst they might get through a few games without a decent front-row they won't get through a whole tournament. I think the tri-nations will bear this out (as well as the South African lack of potency). If the Irish pack fronts up in Auckland and the set piece performs they should win the match and the group and get as close as is feasibly possible to guaranteeing a winnable semi-final against England or France (presuming Wales or Samoa finish second in Pool D).I've got tickets to all the Eden Park matches and the Ire v Aus match is by far the one I'm most looking forward to (including NZ v France). I genuinely think that the winner of that match should play NZ in the final.

  2. Well, the key point for Ireland to note is that Stephen Brett kicked poorly tand directly set up Cooper for his first 2 breaks – kicking to Cooper (or Beale or O'Connor) is suicidal.On the topic of poor kicking, it seems pretty clear Tomás O'Leary is not only going to the RWC, but he is going as first choice – not only does Deccie love him, but he is fronting the advertisement for the new shirt:http://www.elverys.ie/irishrugbyshop/categories/Ireland-Rugby/0000000313The problems with O'Leary's game are well-documented, but the bottom line is unless he shows his 2009 form, he is a liability – with slow ball the Aussie back row will gobble up and any less than perfect kicking will be meat and drink to Cooper et al.I don't doubt that Ireland have the personnel to beat Australia (especially up front), but I'm not sure we have the gameplan. Robbie Deans is a much better coach than Deccie, for one he has worked out Test-level rugger is a 22-man game now.Ireland tend to show up well against Aus, but I can't see us being ahead on the scoreboard after 80 minutes..On the other hand, NZ will beat them – they actually have a (serious) scrum to go along with a genius in the 10 jersey and a gaggle of great young backs (SBW, Freuan, Dagg (if fit) ). The fact NZ are still just under evens shows the extent of the choke premium in the betting market – I fully expect them to win every match this year.PS We fancy Fiji to roll in behind the Boks in that group.

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