'Run out of excuses as a team' - Quade Cooper
September 30, 2013
Quade Cooper foresees even more short-term pain before long-term gain © Getty Images
Quade Cooper warns there's no quick fix for the Wallabies under Ewen McKenzie, predicting ahead of their final Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Rosario that the team could suffer more pain before any real gain.
Australians were disappointing in losing 28-8 to South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday, let down by turnovers and missed tackles at crucial times, and they face no easy task to win in Argentina after the Pumas pushed the All Blacks for 50 minutes - leading early in the second half before the scoreline blew out to 33-15.
"We can't keep using excuses," Cooper said. "We've run out of excuses as a team in terms of how we go about each week. We've just got to put it down to hard work, sticking together as a team, backing our coach, backing our players and we've got to strive for more success."
Cooper, who was voted the Wallabies' players' player, and who worked hard in defence to stop the Springboks' onslaught, said the players had each been challenged to improve on one thing heading into the game against Argentina.
"You have to look at yourself and find one thing in your game that you can work on, that you can contribute to the team, that will speed up the process of us improving as a team," he said. "We'll get there. It's all in due time. But I urge everyone, it's not going to happen overnight. It's something that we've got to continue to be upbeat about, but we've got to know that it's a tough process and it's something that will come. But, right now, it's just not happening."
Cooper said that Queensland Reds' Super Rugby revival under McKenzie was proof the coach was the right man for the job. "He's got the [Australian] team with two weeks' preparation and he's got to try his best to mould us all together into a team that people want to watch and want to support. We've got to stick with him as players and, like I said, it's not going to happen overnight but I've got full confidence that we have the playing group and the coaching staff to turn things around."
Australia held on for a one-point win over the Pumas in Perth, and Cooper said the reverse fixture in Rosario would be a real battle for the team.
"We know it's going to be tough," Cooper said. "They're a good side. They have improved heaps being in the Rugby Championship. We're not going to go there thinking we're going to roll them. We cannot afford to think like that, especially with the way they're playing football."
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