Dave Rennie heaps praise on Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper has played 70 Tests for Australia
Quade Cooper has played 70 Tests for Australia

Australia head coach Dave Rennie had high praises for veteran fly-half Quade Cooper as he aims to make a return to the matchday squad for the third and final Bledisloe Cup game against New Zealand in Perth.

Cooper has played 70 Tests for Australia since his international debut in 2008 but hasn't featured for the Wallabies since June 2017. He was also part of the World Cup squads in the 2011 and 2015 World Cups.

With James O'Connor out injured, Rennie opted for Noah Lolesio for the kicking responsibility in the two games at Eden Park with Matt To’omua providing cover from the bench.

“He’s been fantastic in the group. Can’t speak highly enough of him,” he told.

“Even when we had a few days off at the front of the week, he was driving a lot of the training and additional stuff a number of the boys were doing out on the field here or down at the gym.

“His ability for pass selection or kicking options has been spot on and it’s been really good, from a training perspective, for us.

“He’s pretty much been running the New Zealand play, so he’s been great, and he’s applying pressure on us for selection.”

The 33-year-old had a couple of stints with Queensland Reds between 2006 and 2018 and also featured for Rebels and Toulon in the past but is currently part of Japanese club Kintetsu Liners which he joined in 2019.

Another addition to the Wallabies squad has been Samu Kerevi, who is currently among the two players selected by Rennie under the relaxed Giteau Law which does not allow Australian players with less than 60 Test caps plying trade overseas for the national selection.

“He’s been excellent. Like Quade, he’s an experienced man who is contributing really well. There’s a fair bit to get your head around, of course, but he’s been excellent,” Rennie said.

“He’s obviously played over in Suntory. A good mate of mine, Jason O’Halloran, coaches over there.

“He gave me some really positive feedback around Samu, his preparation and the detail around trying to be better each day, and we’re seeing evidence of that in our squad.”