Cooper misses the mark ...

2011-07-09 00:00

THE two go head-to-head in the Super Rugby final in Brisbane today in what could be a pointer to bigger duels to come in the Tri-Nations and, most importantly, the Rugby World Cup.

Don’t get me wrong, Cooper is a real talent and arguably the most exciting individual running around the Super Rugby scene this year.

He’s made some big strides, bringing a bit more consistency to go with his electric game.

He’s a handful for any defence who won’t know what he’s planning to do until it’s unfolding in front of them.

But there are a couple of things that come with Cooper’s unpredictable approach. It’s a high-risk game he plays and it’s also one based on confidence.

New Zealanders should be used to this. We went through the heart-attacks that came with Spencer’s approach. Brilliant one minute, insane the next.

Is it a coincidence that Cooper looks a little like Spencer, body ink and all? Surprise, surprise, the Tokoroa-transplant concedes Spencer was one of his heroes.

Cooper has cleverly walked a tightrope this year, but I can’t help but feel that he’s an accident waiting to happen, that he will produce one trick too many that will fall into the hands of the Crusaders or the All Blacks.

Those Kiwi sides make a living off turnovers, so think twice Quade, even though that isn’t a trait of your instinctive game.

Then there’s Cooper’s goalkicking. It’s streaky. Even in the semi-final against the Blues his kicking for goal was shoddy while the match was tight early. A sign of tightness and nerves? Perhaps.

The Aussies made much of his late drop goal against the Blues as being a clever ploy that could pay dividends later in the season. Fair enough, but they overlooked his earlier wobbles from the kicking tee.

Cooper is a far from proven force at Test level and it will be interesting to see if Robbie Deans has the ultimate faith in him as the international season unfolds.

Deans isn’t short of alternatives from James O’Connor to Matt Giteau to Berrick Barnes.

Form would suggest Cooper has the Wallabies No. 10 jersey for the Tri-Nations, especially with the strong partnership he has formed with his halfback Will Genia.

I sense the All Blacks won’t mind that too much.

And I’m sure they will be more than comfortable with their playmaker in the ice-cool Carter.

Carter is a proven force at all levels. He has a consistency about his all-round game, particularly at Test level, that Cooper can only dream of.

Carter mightn’t have quite the running game of Cooper these days and Cooper’s sleight of hand passing is impressive. But overall, Carter’s distribution is rock solid. He knows when something “is on” around him and with the outside talent Carter works with, he’s more than content to let them express themselves.

But Carter cleans up in the kicking stakes — both in field kicking and shots at goal.

Carter also has a calmness that gives confidence to those around him. For all his individual brilliance, Carter plays an inclusive game.

Is it hard to weigh up the games of Carter and Cooper against each other?

It shouldn’t be too difficult for New Zealand rugby fans.

Think back to the continual debate around Andrew Mehrtens v Carlos Spencer.

Who will be remembered more fondly between those two contrasting characters?

Your answer to that will certainly colour your thinking on the Carter-Cooper puzzler.

If a game were hanging in the balance, I’d go with Mehrtens ahead of Spencer. Which means I’m more than comfortable in the Carter camp right now.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.