Cooper must tackle defensive weakness
November 17, 2010
England's Mark Cueto streaks away from Quade Cooper © Getty Images
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has warned Quade Cooper that his attacking artistry might not be enough to keep him in the team if he refuses to get stuck into his tackling duties.
Star fly-half Cooper was one of the guiltier parties in what was an awful defensive team performance as Australia lost 35-18 to England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Cooper's tackling ability has been highlighted in the past as a weakness in his game but Deans has taken the criticism a step further, claiming the 22-year-old doesn't like that part of the game.
''We can't continue on with the sort of [missed tackles] that we got out of the weekend," Deans said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "The best response would be for Quade to master it himself.
"We're working there constantly, but the game is different. We do as much as we can at training, but the reality is it's not until the rubber hits the road that you really find out.
''Having the will is a big part of it. You've got to want to do it. It doesn't matter what preparation you do - if there's no will, it just doesn't happen.''
Deans knows Cooper's value when in possession so he would much rather see his No.10 lose his 'speedbump' reputation and improve rather than reshape his finely-tuned midfield.
''He does offer us a lot,'' he said. ''He's been a big point of difference for us, but you've got to look at the game in its totality. Also Quade wasn't the only one, to be honest. Our team defence was inadequate.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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