Quade Cooper wants to eclipse Michael Lynagh
March 9, 2014
Queensland Reds defeated the Cheetahs in an end-to-end fixture (video available only in Australia)
Quade Cooper has set his sights on eclipsing five-eighth great Michael Lynagh's all-time points-scoring record for Queensland Reds.
Cooper became the Reds' leading Super Rugby points-scorer, breaking Elton Flatley's mark of 629, by kicking seven from 10 for an 18-point haul in the crucial 43-33 win over the Cheetahs on Friday. And the Wallabies' five-eighth spoke of his pride at gaining the record, and reconfirmed his commitment to Queensland by saying he was spurred to aim for Lynagh's state tally of 1166 points.
"I couldn't be more excited about being in the history books for something like that for Queensland rugby," Cooper said. "It's not necessarily a goal I went out to achieve but, when you can tick off things like that along the line through working hard, it makes it all worthwhile. There's still Michael Lynagh miles ahead, but it gives you something to aim for. And if I can continue to work at my game and score points for the Reds, it will help us as a team. And that's my sole focus."
As well as contributing with the boot, Cooper helped to set up four of his side's five tries at Suncorp Stadium. But the enigmatic playmaker was far from perfect - like his team's overall performance - gifting Cheetahs flanker Boom Prinsloo a 50-metre intercept try with an errant cut-out pass and also throwing a string of forward passes.
Cooper accepted he had to improve his technique as defences and referees are more alert to the 50-Test five-eighth's flat spiral passes that hold plenty of risk and reward for his team, but he promised to keep rolling the dice when the opportunities arose.
"We have to continue to try these things," he said. "You can't see an open bloke there and ignore him. Sometimes they are not going to come off but we want to improve our game and push our attack."
Queensland, with nine points from three games, depart Australia for South Africa on Sunday, for matches against the Sharks in Durban on March 15 and the Lions in Johannesburg the following Sunday.
Reds coach Richard Graham on Saturday named a 27-man squad for the tour. The squad features the group of 23 who defeated the Cheetahs, along with Ben Lucas, Lachie Turner, Albert Anae and Dave McDuling.
Red squad: Ben Daley, Greg Holmes, Jono Owen, James Slipper, Albert Anae, Saia Fainga'a, James Hanson, James Horwill (captain), Dave McDuling, Ed O'Donoghue, Rob Simmons, Liam Gill, Eddie Quirk, Beau Robinson, Jake Schatz, Nick Frisby, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas, Anthony Fainga'a, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Mike Harris, Ben Tapuai, Rod Davies, Dom Shipperley, Aidan Toua, Lachie Turner.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship