Roberts is player of RWC - Ashley-Cooper
October 18, 2011
Wales centre Jamie Roberts has been one of the standout players of the Rugby World Cup © Getty Images
Wallabies star Adam Ashley-Cooper has billed Wales centre Jamie Roberts as the player of the World Cup.
Roberts will be part of a Wales team aiming to win the bronze medal match at Australia's expense on Friday. And Ashley-Cooper, who took over at fullback for an injured Kurtley Beale during the Wallabies' semi-final defeat against New Zealand two days ago, believes he deserves huge acclaim.
"Personally, I think Jamie Roberts has been player of the tournament," Ashley-Cooper said. "He has had a fantastic campaign. He's a great player, and it is going to take a lot of us to stop him."
Friday's so-called consolation final is of little comfort to either country, and Ashley-Cooper added: "We're in the same boat. Both teams can take comfort out of that. We are both hurting, we're both in the same position.
"They are a great team, they are a young team like us and I am sure they've got exciting things ahead."
Reflecting on the 20-6 semi-final loss, he said: "I took it personally, absolutely. I think all of us did. We were extremely upset, and I don't think we were upset for ourselves - we were upset for the country.
"We knew we had a lot of support leading into the game, and everyone was behind us. To let ourselves down is one thing, but to let the supporters down, the fans and the country down is another."
Robbie Deans` men do have the chance to right some wrongs against Wales, though. "Friday is another opportunity to put on the Wallabies jersey and nobody is going to take that for granted. There is a bronze medal on offer and everyone is pretty excited," Ashley-Cooper said. "It's the industry we're in - you win some, you lose some.
"We've got to put that behind us, and even though it was a significant loss and we are not competing for the World Cup, it's still another Test match. I think both teams will have a crack. Both teams really don't have too much to lose, so there's not too much expectation or pressure put on us.
"That will make for a really exciting game and an open game. Our supporters need to know that the collective group here, representing the country, care a lot.
"Obviously, we suffered a pretty significant loss on the weekend and everyone was very upset by it and everyone took it personally. We've got an opportunity to turn things around, and we really want to win this game."
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