Cooper commits to skippering BaaBaas
QUADE Cooper says he's committed to captaining the Alan Jones-coached Barbarians team against Australia given he's heard nothing from Michael Cheika about a Wallabies' call-up - and he doubts he will.
Cooper, who has been on the Wallabies' outer since June, was last week named skipper of the BaaBaas by Jones ahead of the clash at Allianz Stadium on October 28.
The news caught Cheika by surprise while on tour in Argentina last week and the Wallabies coach joked he may have to have a "rumble (with Jones), McGregor and Mayweather-style" for the 70-Test playmaker.
"Obviously they don't think we're picking him," Cheika said.
While Cheika has stuck with Bernard Foley as his no.10, with Kurtley Beale as a back-up, Cooper may have been a genuine consideration for a call-up to play against the Barbarians given several top-line Wallabies are likely to be rested ahead of the Spring Tour.
But after steering Brisbane City to an NRC win over the Sydney Rays on Sunday, Cooper said he'd not spoken with Cheika this winter and he expected to pull on the famous black-and-white hoops for the BaaBaas in Sydney.
"At this stage I am - I haven't heard anything else," Cooper said.
"Unless I am called into camp, which I doubt as the Rugby Championship is over, I am just looking forward to playing for Brisbane City and getting the opportunity to suit up and throw the ball around for the BaaBaas.
"I have never had the opportunity to play for the BaaBaas. I have played against them a few times and it's always a fun game.
"It's always hard on the lungs, chasing the ball around. It's always been a fun game to be a part of but I've never had the honour to suit up in the BaaBaas. I am looking forward to that."
Cooper said was he excited to play for Jones, who is making his return to international coaching for the first time in over 30 years.
"He's a great bloke. I have met him a fair few times, I have kept in touch and he has chatted to me in some tough times," Cooper said.
"Being overseas and being back in Australia, he has always had an ear and been someone to talk to. I am looking forward to playing for him as well.
"Every time I have chatted to him about football, his philosophies about the game are very much to keep the ball up off the ground, not trying to set up rucks and that sort of thing. Trying to keep the ball alive and keep the ball up off the ground and keep the game flowing.
"That's the sort of thing I like about rugby.
"When you speak to Alan, he is a very charismatic guy, he is very out there and passionate. I am looking forward to playing with him."
Asked if there'd contact with Cheika about the coach's future plans for him, Cooper said: "Not at all."
"I am enjoying playing this (the NRC) and taking it as it comes," Cooper said.
"This has been great to be a part of, the culture of the boys is stepping up. It's just going back to grass roots and enjoying it. I enjoyed my year with the Reds and I am enjoying playing with these boys, and looking forward to playing for the BaaBaas.
"In terms of the future I am just taking it week by week and just having fun, and enjoying being at home as well."
Cooper welcomed the appointment of Brad Thorn as Queensland coach and, as a player who had his share of on-field battles with the ex-All Black hardman, he expects a "no frills" intensity to the Reds next year.
"He has already been hands on for the last few years so we know what he's all about. He's no nonsense. That transition will be pretty smooth," Cooper said.
"From a players standpoint, first and foremost, I have nothing but respect for him. For the type of player he was on the field and the type of guy he was off the field, and the success he had as a player and the success he had as a player and the teams that he played with that were successful, I have nothing but respect for him."