Nic White: Quade Cooper’s mental strength will aid his recovery

Dylan Coetzee

Wallabies scrum-half Nic White claims teammate Quade Cooper is “consistent” with his emotions and believes the fly-half will work hard to return as quickly as possible.

Cooper looked in good form before he was removed from the field with a ruptured Achilles in the second half against Argentina last weekend. The fly-half has been ruled out for an extended period, with even his chances to be part of the 2023 Rugby World Cup taking a blow.

Mental consistency

However, White believes Cooper has mental fortitude, and the playmaker is already positive and looking ahead to his recovery.

“The lows don’t get him too low and the highs, he certainly doesn’t ride them and doesn’t get caught up in that, he’s a very consistent guy with his emotions,” White told reporters.

“He was in pretty good spirits considering the injury that he had just had and was already talking about the path that he’s happy to take on.

“I’ve got no doubt that he is the right type of guy that will probably come back sooner than expected and be in some phenomenal shape when he comes back.”

Cooper’s injury leaves the door open for Noah Lolesio or James O’Connor to put their hand up and stake a claim for the number 10 jersey with the World Cup just more than a year away.

Coach Dave Rennie trusted Lolesio for the England series when Cooper was injured in the warm-up before the first Test, and the young pivot performed well. In contrast, O’Connor has not featured prominently in the Wallabies shirt this year.

“There’s a real opportunity there for whoever grabs it,” White said.

“It’s next man up. Noah’s taken these opportunities when he’s got them, so has James.

“We’ve had guys coming in and out, we’ve had plenty of injuries, but with any sort of injury there becomes an opportunity and it’s pretty much how most of our careers start, through the misfortune of somebody else.

“Whoever grabs it, though, they’ll be ready to go.”

On the eve of the Wallabies Test against Argentina, captain Michael Hooper withdrew from the tour citing personal reasons and has been widely praised for his courage since.

White says he has been in touch with Hooper after Australia played for their heroic captain on the night.

“We’ve been in touch – I spoke to him after the game once he touched down and he was obviously stoked with the result,” he said.

“We’ll stay in contact with him and he’s got a lot of support around him and the staff have put a good plan in place for him.”

Expecting a response

The scrum-half says there is a lot to work ahead for the Wallabies, and they will expect Los Pumas to come at them firing after a disappointing end to last week’s clash.

“It was a big week, great result for us, but there’s plenty for us to fix,” White said.

“A pretty shaky start, discipline was a big one for us, still getting on top of the amount of turnovers we’re making.

“We’re heading in the right direction but still still got so many steps forward to make.

“We’re going have to go another level because the Pumas will be disappointed with how they played on the weekend and they will be fired up.”

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