Australia’s Quade Cooper has defended his friendship with England’s Marcus Smith
Australian Quade Cooper greets English star Marcus Smith and hopes they can “build friendships” because “we’re all here to help each other grow” as the pair gear up to lock the horns in diplomatic three test series
- Australia’s Quade Cooper has defended his friendship with Marcus Smith
- The Wallabies No10 says he ‘can’t speak highly enough’ of the English fly-half
- Cooper has vowed to keep helping Smith despite the fierce rivalry
- England start their test series against Australia in Perth on Saturday 2 July
Diplomacy continued to dominate the lead-up to the England series with Australia yesterday as Quade Cooper pledged to continue helping Marcus Smith.
England braced itself for an onslaught of hostility Down Under, but the Wallabies, based 2,700 miles away on the Gold Coast, have yet to commit.
Sunday night’s State of Origin rivalry dominated the conversation in Perth, where hotels are packed with rugby league fans in blue and maroon.
Australia’s Quade Cooper (pictured) has defended his friendship with Marcus Smith
Cooper says he has built a good relationship with Smith (pictured) through social media
Wallabies coach Davie Rennie praised England in yesterday’s The West Australian newspaper, predicting a different beast than the team that lost to the Barbarians. No 10 Cooper has been tipping Smith over the past year and the mercurial playmaker said he would continue to share information for the greater good of the sport.
“One of my best friends, Ben Tapuai, played for Harlequins and I followed them very closely,” Cooper said. “Marcus followed me on Instagram and we ended up exchanging some messages. I’m a big fan of the way he plays. He’s a great boy, a great man and my friends on that team couldn’t speak for him enough.
“I just love the way he plays. He is a great talent and hopefully we can build that friendship in the coming years. When I was young, you couldn’t just DM Carlos Spencer and talk to him. The luxury now is that we have access to those people. It’s about being able to communicate in both directions and learning from them and understanding what’s going through their minds, what drives them. That’s a brilliant thing to have.
“We are all here to help each other grow. If you’re trying to withhold things from people and try to stunt someone else’s growth, that’s such a negative way of living. If I can help someone out or someone can help me out, those are the kind of people I want to be around.”
Cooper praised the English man and insisted he ‘loves the way he plays’
Smith starred in England’s win over Australia in November and he plans to extend his country’s seven-year unbeaten run in the game. He is expected to double with Owen Farrell in a 10-12 midfield combination and Cooper believes he will benefit from having a second playmaker.
“They are extremely talented players in their own right,” said Cooper. “Having Owen outside of Marcus would take a lot of pressure off him in terms of game calling, his eyes and ears.
“Having two real No 10s makes it a difficult task to figure out where the main source of the ball game comes from. They’ll figure it out and we’ll have to try it ourselves.’
Cooper is looking forward to a reunion with his longtime mentor Eddie Jones (pictured) on the series
Cooper is looking forward to reuniting with his longtime mentor Eddie Jones, who handed the fly-half his debut for the Queensland Reds in 2007. Cooper.
“We’ve had to learn hard and fast, myself and Will Genia. When we came through we were 17 or 18 and thrown straight into Super Rugby. We’ve been through some of the most grueling workouts. From a mental standpoint, he was always looking for ways to test you.
‘He was a teacher. I’ve heard he’s mellowed out a bit, but he’s got a wealth of experience, his sides are always well prepared and every international side he’s been a part of has been successful.”