Cooper will return against Lions

Date published: March 19 2015

Reds fly-half Quade Cooper has revealed he will be available for the team's next match against the Lions in Round 7 of Super Rugby.

The playmaker has been out with a fracture collarbone that forced him to miss the Reds' first five games of the season.

Cooper hasn't been alone on the sidelines for the Reds as a number of key players have been unavailable, with the 26-year-old joined by James O'Connor, Greg Holmes, Samu Kerevi and Beau Robinson among others. All are expected to be available for next weekend. 

"For me, I've been preparing for this day for a long time," Cooper told AAP.

"I think the group of guys we have is a great group and I'm just looking forward to joining them and trying to contribute around the edges.

"My very first game starting (for the Reds) was against the Lions in 2007.

"For me, this is a very important game, one I'm very excited about and, in terms of the bigger picture, being able to get out there and gain some game time will hopefully put myself in a good position later in the year with the World Cup looming."

Cooper admitted that the team's high number of injuries had been a big issue, with the Reds sitting in 14th after one win from their opening five games.

"The team's performance hasn't been our best," added Cooper.

"We're very disappointed with the way we've been playing.

"It's been difficult for the guys having so many guys out with injuries but I feel like all the guys who had the opportunity have been able to gain some very valuable experience by being out there in some tough situations, which will put us in a good situation moving forward.

"The good thing with a lot of guys coming back from injury is that it creates good competition.

"Guys being able to make themselves available to play doesn't mean they're going to be walk-up starts for the next game."