Quade Cooper keeps Queensland Reds honest
March 5, 2013
The Reds were defiant in holding off the fast-finishing Hurricanes
Quade Cooper has Queensland Reds players "worried" ahead of the Super Rugby match on Friday night far more than does the thought of James O'Connor playing as Melbourne Rebels five-eighth.
Reds hooker Saia Faingaa said on Tuesday that Queensland wouldn't be breathing easier after the Rebels slotted stand-in skipper O'Connor into the No. 10 jersey in place of injured Kurtley Beale. "Anywhere he plays, he is going to be an X-factor for them," Faingaa said of O'Connor.
But returning centre Anthony Faingaa said that Cooper was keeping teammates honest far more than the thought of facing O'Connor.
"You are always waiting and waiting, [thinking] 'what is he going to do?'," Anthony Faingaa said of Cooper. "As a player outside him, he leaves you on the edge of your seat all the time."
Anthony Faingaa said that Cooper had suffered a quiet start to the season as the Reds clawed their way to a 2-1 win-loss record because he was juggling goal-kicking duties.
"At the moment, he's been given a lot more responsibility," Faingaa said. "But for us, you just give him options. If you give him as many as you can, he is pretty much going to pick the right one. We always talk about how do you work around Quade. You just pick your line and hope he makes a good decision and hits you."
Cooper may not have been his flashy self but Anthony Faingaa had no problem with the Reds grinding their way to two victories to date.
"We have clawed our ways to win. The way we have been winning games you can't teach that," Faingaa said. "We have a brotherhood that we take out onto the field."
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham