Planet Rugby

Cooper thriving on responsibility

25th November 2013 07:37

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ewen mckenzie quade cooper australia

Understanding: McKenzie & Cooper

Australia head coach Ewen McKenzie's decision to hand Quade Cooper the vice-captaincy appears shrewder with every game.

Cooper was in fine form in the Wallabies 21-15 win over Scotland, backing up his performance against Ireland the week before in Dublin.

The Reds number ten set up Israel Folau's try in the first half and has steadily improved since being reintegrated into the Wallaby squad following the departure of former coach Robbie Deans.

Cooper had famously described the environment under Deans as "toxic", resulting in his exclusion from the squad.

Putting his old off-field issues behind him, the 25-year-old will next look to round off the year with a win over Wales in Cardiff.

Commenting on his decision to hand Cooper the vice-captaincy instead of opting for scrum-half Will Genia, McKenzie revealed his experience of working with Cooper at the Reds had proved that the fly-half operated better with greater responsibility on his shoulders.

"I worked out early on ... the more responsibility I gave him the better he played, simple as that," said McKenzie.

"[Quade] likes responsibility.

"A lot of people wouldn't think that but he actually likes the responsibility of running the game plan... so if you actually back him he'll return the favour."

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