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Wales tour to Australia
Cooper in fitness race for coming Tests
ESPN Staff
May 15, 2012
An injured Quade Cooper acknowledges the Eden Park crowd, Rugby World Cup, Australia v Wales, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, October 21, 2011
Quade Cooper's return from injury may come sooner than expected © Getty Images
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Quade Cooper could be a surprise inclusion in the Wallabies' squad to face Wales and Scotland next month.

Cooper underwent major knee surgery after suffering injury in the World Cup third-placed play-off against Wales last October and has not played this season. Reports in Australia have linked Cooper to a return to action for Super Rugby side Queensland Reds this weekend, but outgoing coach Ewen McKenzie poured cold water on the speculation on Tuesday.

"Quade's not far away but realistically it's a low percentage that he'll play on the weekend," McKenzie told Fox Sports. "It would have to be a miracle, really, given that we've only got two training sessions and he still has to do things around contact to be absolutely sure he is mentally right."

Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is also monitoring the progress of James O'Connor, who suffered a lacerated kidney following a collision with the Waratahs' Berrick Barnes in April. O'Connor will have scans next week which will determine whether he can participate in Australia's Test opener against Scotland on June 5.

Deans has also claimed that he is full aware of the threats Wales pose after their Grand Slam. "After winning the Six Nations so impressively, there's no doubt that Wales see this tour as the chance to take the next step," Deans said. "They were quite vocal about that at the end of the tournament, saying it was time they beat one of the major southern hemisphere nations.

"It was also clear, when we were in Cardiff last December for the James Bevan Trophy Test, that they believe that goal is within their reach."

Deans will name his full squad on May 28, while Wales named their 38-man squad for the upcoming tour on Monday.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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