Cooper backs combined Anzac team

Date published: April 9 2014

Wallabies pivot Quade Cooper believes Australia and New Zealand's best players would be keen to play in an Anzac match.

Reds and Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper believes Australia and New Zealand's best players would be keen to play in an Anzac match.

Plans have been made on both sides of the Tasman for the two countries to join forces to play against a Rest of the World XV next year.

Such a match would be to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated World War One Gallipoli campaign, which has become a defining symbol of courage and comradeship for the two nations.

While it's a long-shot in a World Cup year, Cooper feels players won't hesitate in playing in such a match.

“The idea of that would be a great way to celebrate the Anzacs and what that has done for us as a nation and as people being able to live the lives we do today,” he told AAP.

“Rugby is something that we love to do … if that concept was put forward I'm sure guys would find some time to play in a game like that.

“Just to give back to people who gave their lives for all of us.”

There is plenty of work to be done before the game can become a reality. The biggest obstacle would be the World Cup which is set to take place from September to October in England next year.

The global showpiece takes four years of planning and while the Australian and New Zealand Rugby Unions would be reluctant to risk their best players in a once-off fixture, during a World Cup year, it will also be almost impossible to get the best rivals from around the world for the match.

Cooper thinks the chances of getting Wallabies and All Blacks combining, like they did in 1989 against a British and Irish Lions team, will best suited for after the World Cup.

“World Cups have got to come first,” he added.

“Those are things that only come up once every four years.

“The guys lucky enough to get the opportunity won't want anything to come between that but the concept is a great one.”

Although Cooper would have to battle Dan Carter and Aaron Cruden for the Anzac team's number 10 jersey, he certainly liked the thought of being in the same team as arch-rival Richie McCaw.

“As a kid growing up he was the biggest icon in world rugby and to step on the field with him rather than against him would be a great opportunity,”said Cooper.