Sydney - Reds coach Nick Stiles believes Quade Cooper can use his time away from the Wallabies set-up to improve his physical conditioning.
The 29-year-old playmaker has been snubbed from Wallabies
coach Michael Cheika's 38-man squad which is currently preparing for the Rugby
Championship with a training camp in the New South Wales port city of
Cooper has been hampered by injury over the last few seasons
which has negatively affected his performances. And Stiles has likened Cooper's
situation to another Reds player, Karmichael Hunt's.
Hunt also had more than his fair share of his injury
problems. But after a strong pre-season with the Reds he was finally able
overcome his niggling injury troubles.
Hunt was rewarded for an impressive Super Rugby campaign
with a call-up to the national team and made his debut against Fiji before
starring against Scotland and Italy in the June internationals.
And Stiles firmly believes Cooper's international career is
"I wouldn't be writing him off at all," Stiles
"I look at it a bit like what we were able to do with
Karmichael last year.
"You would have said 12 months ago Karmichael was at
that same point in his career and you didn't know if he'd come back from it.
"He was similar, he had a few years of season-on-season
injuries and hadn't worked on himself physically.
"Being able to give him four to six months to really
get his body right allowed him to play his best football."
And while Stiles admitted that Cooper's performances this
season suffered from inconsistency, he says the mercurial pivot has proven that
he can bounce back in the past.
"He'd be the first one to say that. He's got very high
expectations of himself and he wants to be the best," Stiles said.
"He sees it now as an opportunity to really be able to
work on those areas and get better.
"The thing I've always liked about Quade is he's a
top-end athlete, a competitor.
"Sometimes when you see those competitors put on those
scrap heap, they fight."