Why 'patient' Quade is a happy benchwarmer

3 weeks ago 11
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A patient and philosophical Quade Cooper insists he is happy to continue riding the pine for the Wallabies as he fights for selection in what would be an unlikely Bledisloe Cup return in Perth on Sunday.

The 33-year-old five-eighth hasn't played Test rugby since 2017 but was handed a surprise squad lifeline by Dave Rennie when brought in as injury cover for James O'Connor.

The mercurial 70 Test veteran didn't feature in the opening two Bledisloe losses but was put up for media duties alongside fellow comeback kid Izack Rodda today.

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Quade Cooper of the Wallabies looks on from the bench at Eden Park. (Getty)

That's normally a strong selection pointer but Cooper claimed he had no idea whether he would play against the All Blacks at Optus Stadium.

"Na, not yet mate," Cooper told reporters.

"I think he (Rennie) keeps everyone on their toes. When we're training the teams are always quite mixed up. You're having a look around to see where Hoops (Michael Hooper) or Marika (Koroibete) is and try and get some indication there.

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Quade Cooper during Wallabies training at Mount Smart Stadium. (Getty)

"But other than that, the boys are just all fighting for spots."

Cooper, now playing his club rugby in Japan, went as far as to say that actually playing for the Wallabies again "hasn't been a focus of mine at all."

He has been acting as a sounding board for young Wallabies pivot Noah Lolesio.

"It's not something that I've come in here going 'oh, I just have to play a Test.'

"For me, coming in here has been about learning. The things I've been able to learn, whether I go back to Japan after this game, whether it's after the Rugby Championship, I'm not 100 per cent sure just yet.

"I'll have a wealth of knowledge in terms of footballing, in terms of things I've been able to gain and learn about myself, being back inside this environment. The level of skill, the level of training, I haven't had that for four years or something, since I was last inside a Wallabies squad. So it hasn't been a focus of mine to come in and just play games.

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"If I can grow as a man, grow as a rugby player, take that back to Japan and pass that knowledge onto other people, well then that's a great reward for myself.

"That's where my focus is at and anything else outside of that, that's just bonuses along the way on this journey."

Cooper also shared some interesting insights around his personal growth, admitting he wasn't patient enough as a teammate in his earlier years.

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He said it took a stint in club rugby with Souths - after being dumped by Brad Thorn's Reds - to realise his shortcomings and get better.

"Before that I didn't really have the patience for it at this level, at Super Rugby and Test level I'd actually get kind of frustrated if someone didn't understand their role, or missed their jump on a play or forget a little bit of knowledge, because to me you should just automatically know it being at that level," Cooper said.

"And I think that was an error in judgement on my behalf, instead of putting in the time and effort to help other people. Because everyone learns in different ways...

Quade Cooper at Wallabies training Camp at Sanctuary Cove. (Getty)

"I was able to find patience in myself, find patience in the things that I'd learnt.

"I got more satisfaction out of seeing other players learn (at Souths).

"When you see the lightbulb moment… I got so much satisfaction out of it."

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