Quade Cooper lauds New Zealand's strength in depth ahead of Perth clash

Quade Cooper (left) returned to Australia squad for Rugby Championship
Quade Cooper (left) returned to Australia squad for Rugby Championship

Australia fly-half Quade Cooper lauded New Zealand for their bench strength ahead of the second round clash in the Rugby Championship between the two sides on 5th September.

Cooper, who has played 70 Tests for the Wallabies between 2008 and 2017 was added to the Rugby Championship squad by head coach Dave Rennie in the absence of James O'Connor, who is sidelined with an injury.

Even though Noah Lolesio was handed the kicking duty with Matt Toomua providing cover for the opening two Bledisloe Cup games at Eden Park, Rennie said the 33-year-old is in contention to make it to the matchday squad for the first time in four years when they face the All Blacks in Perth.

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has named Ardie Savea as skipper with regular captain Sam Cane along with Sam Whitelock, who led them in the games at Eden Park missing out for different reasons. With Richie Mo'unga also not travelling with the squad, World Rugby Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017 - Beauden Barrett, who was also a part of the 2015 World Cup winning side will take the number 10 jersey and Cooper heaped praise on the squad strength of the All Blacks.

“That’s the thing about the All Blacks,” said Cooper.

“You’ve got Richie Mo’unga staying at home for the birth of one of his children, and you have Beaudy come in – two of the best players in the world.

“How do you defend that? It’s one of those things that you can only put so much emphasis on one person and stop them. It’s just more about slowing them down, and the ABs as a whole.

“They’ve been a phenomenal team over the past three games and we’re very much more focused on trying to nail down our stuff.”