Recovering Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper is keeping his fingers crossed he will be considered for next month’s Bledisloe Cup clash in Brisbane.
While Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie might not be laughing, Quade Cooper can see the funny side of teammates giving his recovering shoulder an early “test” before his official return from injury on Sunday.
Cooper will play his first game since May in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) for Brisbane City against Queensland Country – a game he hopes will lead to consideration for the Bledisloe Cup clash at Suncorp Stadium on October 18.
And thanks to some cheeky – and some would say very brave – teammates, Cooper said he was confident his shoulder would thrive in its first official hit-out.
In news that would probably make McKenzie’s heart skip a beat, Cooper revealed teammates gave his shoulder an impromptu test before he had been cleared for contact work.
“A few of the boys have hit me before I was even back into contact which in some regards is a good thing,” Cooper laughed.
“You get a bit of a fright but then it’s like ‘oh it feels good’.
“And going through it with the physios and the trainer and making some tackles, it does do wonders for your confidence.
“The medical staff say everything is right.
“Now mentally I have to go out there and make sure I am confident.”
Cooper’s recovery from shoulder and minor hip surgery took longer than expected, ensuring he missed out on Australia’s touring squad for this weekend’s Newlands Test against the Springboks and October 4 clash in Argentina.
The 50-Test five-eighth was not expected back in the green and gold until the end-of-year European tour but Cooper kept his fingers crossed for a Bledisloe Cup nod.
“Everyone’s goal is to represent the Wallabies,” said Cooper who hoped to follow in Reds teammate Will Genia’s footsteps and earn an international recall via the NRC.
“The pathway is there to come back through Brisbane City, play some good football and hopefully be in contention.”
The playmaker admitted his shoulder was not 100 per cent but hoped Wallabies selectors would see a new and improved Cooper in the NRC.
“Any time you have surgery it’s never going to be back to 100 per cent but it feels great,” he said.
“Any injury takes longer than you would have liked.
“Every rehab has its complications.
“But every injury is an opportunity to come back bigger and better.”