Planet Rugby

Cooper can win back respect - Horwill

13th February 2013 13:45

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Quade Cooper Reds training 2012

Under pressure: Quade Cooper

Wallabies and Reds captain James Horwill has urged team-mate Quade Cooper to let his playing do the talking in 2013.

Cooper hit the headlines for the wrong reasons last year when he claimed that the Wallabies camp had become a 'toxic environment' on Twitter.

The outburst earned the controversial fly-half a $60,000 fine from the ARU and threatened to end his Test career before he finally signed a new Wallabies contract after a much-publicised row with the governing body.

"Whether he needs to earn respect from other people (I'm not sure) but you let your actions do the talking and Quade's very big on that," Horwill told Sportal.

"He needs to make sure he keeps performing the way he can and we all know he can because he is a world-class player and someone who's got some freakish ability that a lot of people in the world would be pretty envious of.

"Quade for us at the Reds has always been the guy that's always turned up and been very proud and worked hard to play for Queensland, so I can't fault him in that sense."

Horwill said he can't question the 24-year-old's commitment to the Reds' pre-season preparations even though he made his professional boxing debut last weekend.

"Quade's been excellent, he hasn't missed a session, he's trained extremely hard, he's obviously in very good shape physically," he added.

"Any time you have injuries and interruptions to your year it's frustrating and that happened to him obviously last year and he might have struggled with that a bit.

"But he's been fit, he's been training, he's been running, doing everything and you can see that he's really enjoying being out there so I'm expecting Quade to be Quade and do what he does best."

Horwill also revealed how disappointed he is to miss the Reds season opener against the Brumbies with an ankle injury after nine months on the sidelines with a serious hamstring injury.

"It's a little bit frustrating obviously with the long lay-off that we've had and everything was sort of tracking the way we had planned it but unfortunately a little hiccup happened," he said.

"Unfortunately that's sport so you've just got to get the ankle better and get back as soon as I can."

Horwill said he has made a full recovery from the hamstring injury and is confident he can get back to his best this season.

"It's been really good, we did a lot of stuff to really test it out and check that it can withstand what is needs too," he revealed.

"I'm happy with my fitness, obviously there's no duplicate for match fitness so I might be a bit short of a run.

"Going into the season is obviously not ideal but it's the cards we've been dealt so we've just got to get on with it and do what we can."

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