Cooper a major doubt for play-offs
July 14, 2012
The Reds' Quade Cooper tackles the Waratahs' Berrick Barnes during their clash in Brisbane © PA Photos
The Reds' joy at keeping their Super Rugby title defence alive with a bonus point victory over the Waratahs on Saturday night has been curtailed by the news that fly-half Quade Cooper has been cited for a dangerous tackle.
Cooper was sin-binned in the second half of his side's 32-16 win for the challenge on rival playmaker Berrick Barnes and referee Steve Walsh also chose to refer the incident to the citing commissioner by issuing a white card.
Upon further review of the match footage, the citing commissioner deemed the incident had "met the red card threshold for foul play" and Cooper must now face the judiciary on Monday. As a result he is a major doubt for the Reds' play-off clash next weekend having played a key role in their dramatic run to the Australian Conference title and the post-season.
The Brumbies' shock defeat to the Blues earlier today opened the door for the Reds to usurp them at the top of the conference table and their five-tries-to-two triumph catapulted them past their rivals. Their opponents in the first round of the play-off will be decided by the remaining games in the last round of the regular season.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is confident his resurgent side can cope with the loss of Cooper should he be banned. ''There's no doubt that Quade makes a difference for us, [but] Quade's played in three games and two half-games and we've won 11 and we're in the finals, so we've had to do a lot of it without Quade anyway,'' he said.
''We had a great win against the Chiefs here [in round 12] and Quade wasn't playing - Benny Lucas was at 10. So we've had to manufacture and work out our plans B, C and D. We got to [plan] F at one point in the 10 position. It's something you deal with as coach and as a playing group.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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