Cooper identifies stopping O'Driscoll as key
June 23, 2010
Quade Cooper says it is vital to shackle Brian O'Driscoll in Brisbane © Getty Images
Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper says that stopping Brian O'Driscoll and defending better as a unit will be the keys to an Australian victory against Ireland at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
After his team's narrow 21-20 loss to England on Saturday, Cooper believes that keeping one of the world's best centres quiet will go a long way to having a decisive bearing on the match outcome.
Cooper, who played in the centre in Australia's 20-20 draw with Ireland at Croke Park last year, has firsthand experience of what a destructive force O'Driscoll is capable of being on his day.
"O'Driscoll is a special player and what he did to us last year was really penetrate for them and get them on the front foot," said Cooper. "Stopping their momentum through him will be a big key for us.
"It's not about one person following him, but the team as a whole connecting together and defending well for the whole game."
Wallabies new boy Rob Horne has the unenviable task of marking the Irish talisman on Saturday. In doing so, he becomes the sixth different man to oppose O'Driscoll in his 10 Tests against Australia.
"Brian O'Driscoll's someone that's been one of the best centres of this generation. He's someone that I greatly admire and have always looked up to," said Horne. "For me he's the benchmark 13 and always has been, so it'll be a big night for me and hopefully I can get out there and perform well."
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who has made only two injury forced changes to the side that lost narrowly to England, is seeking an improvement on last Saturday's performance.
"We were hugely disappointed, because we gave some ground that we needn't have," said Deans. "It's the whole group (that has to lift), we've all got to cue each other, because as soon as we have one man down, in terms of concentration and effort, you're vulnerable."
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