Cooper learning to pace himself
November 23, 2010
Quade Cooper makes a break against Italy © Getty Images
Quade Cooper is still learning his trade at Test level and the Australia fly-half has admitted that he is trying to appreciate the conservative side of the game prior to Saturday's meeting with France in Paris.
After the Wallabies' impatience allowed Italy to gain a foothold in Florence last weekend there has been added focus from coach Robbie Deans on their ability to mix their high-risk offence with a sensible game-plan when required.
Cooper won Man of the Match against the Azzurri after an improved display and has equated the differences to those seen in Test and Twenty20 cricket.
"To be the complete player you've got to have all of those things in your armoury and that's what I'm working towards," he told AAP. "It's just like Test cricket. You can't expect a Test cricket match to be like a Twenty20 match and the same with rugby, you can't expect a Test match to be like Super Rugby and Sevens every game.
"Learning when to hold back a bit I think was the big key in the Italian game because there was so much space, I was getting so excited and wanting to run everything. I always like to be on the front foot and attacking so, when you do have to pull back, I find that quite hard and sometimes a bit boring as well.
"When you're trying to play a game like [kicking] the corners all game, it's just not going to work for us. It's trying to find that balance between playing the corners and running and keeping teams on edge. You've still got to play the game of football."
Cooper's defence has been a talking point on tour following a meek performance in Australia's 35-18 defeat to England two weeks ago and the Reds playmaker was pleased to put in a better shift against Italy.
"I wasn't too pleased with myself the week before so this week I really wanted to get out there and defend hard," he said. "I was pretty happy but that was just one game on, and one slight improvement."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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