Cooper set to face Brumbies

Date published: February 17 2014

Reds pivot Quade Cooper is set to start in his side's Super Rugby opener against the Brumbies in Canberra despite a neck problem.

Reds fly-half Quade Cooper is set to start in the Brisbane-based outfit's Super Rugby opener against the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday despite a neck problem.

The Reds should field a full strength side for their clash in Canberra against last year's runners-up after Cooper trained without any hassles on Monday in a simulated match practice session.

There were fears that Cooper would miss the match when he was hospitalised after a heavy tackle during the Reds' 18-13 loss to the Melbourne Rebels in a pre-season match last Friday.

But Reds boss Richard Graham and Cooper both believe he will be fit to for his fly-half duel with Test team-mate Matt Toomua.

Graham said before the training session his pivot would play if he could train with the team.

Cooper's movements were partially restricted at training and he was shielded from contact but he still ran at pace and kicked and passed with no signs of difficulty.

“He's been really positive the whole way along,” Graham told AAP.

“Once he had scans and was cleared of any damage, he's been really in a good head space and is still very positive and improving.”

Graham revealed that the Reds would make an early decision on Cooper's fitness and prepare with back-up Mike Harris at fly-half from the outset instead of playing a game of wait-and-see.

Harris was at inside centre during training. He played in that position during the loss to the Rebels.