Cooper, Genia to start for Wallabies?

Date published: August 17 2016

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Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has hinted that scrum-half Will Genia and fly-half Quade Cooper could start in Saturday's Test against the All Blacks in Sydney.

Waratahs duo Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley wore the number nine and 10 jerseys in Australia's series defeat against England in June and Cheika has spoken about how he likes picking players who form combinations for their Super Rugby franchises at Test level.

Although Genia is currently playing for Top 14 club Stade Français and Cooper is set to return to an Australian Super Rugby outfit, they were the Reds' halfback duo for several years and Cheika said he could name them in his starting line-up this weekend.

"I'm happy to move around there," Cheika told Fairfax Media

"You're playing for Australia, you're in one team. We train together, we do everything together everyday, we've got good combinations and I don't rule out the possibility of them (Genia and Cooper) playing together either." 

Genia has recovered from a knee injury and is set to make his first Wallabies appearance since starting in last year's World Cup Final against the All Blacks at Twickenham.

"There's no doubt the two half-backs that are in the squad [Phipps and Genia] will share the role," added Cheika.

"They've both got good experience and they're different types of players but they've both been training really well and it's been a good contest to be honest." 

Although Cooper has struggled against New Zealand in recent years, the mercurial playmaker has impressed Cheika at training.

"He's definitely got X-factor, there's no doubt about that," said Cheika. 

"There's been areas of his game that he's been working really hard to improve on. [I've] been really pleased with him since he has returned

"He's been giving that at training… we need to be able to turn that positive stuff he's doing at training into the match in that intensity. I'm sure he can do that job if not a little more.

"Only he knows what's inside his own head but from what I've seen on the outside he's been looking really switched on. A few down bits, a few up bits, but more even than I've seen him before." 

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