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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 1 June, 2020
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'It was a great time and I've some great memories': Cooper recalls schoolboy trip to Dublin

The Australian playmaker is enjoying his time in Ireland ahead of today’s Test match.

Cooper speaking at the RDS yesterday.
Cooper speaking at the RDS yesterday.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

AS QUADE COOPER sits at the top of one of the RDS’ many function rooms, looking out over the arena, he recalls fondly his three-week visit to Ireland over a decade ago.

It has been a difficult tour for the 28-year-old but a return to Dublin has been a highlight.

“I love it here,” he smiles.

Cooper has been back before but the Irish capital never fails to impress, even allowing for the less than appealing November temperatures.

“It’s a beautiful city,” the back continues. “Great people here but it’s a shame about the weather most of the time. Today brought out a bit of sunlight which is great bit it’s a great town.

“I jumped in a cab yesterday to a place called Howth and my taxi driver was a nice guy, telling us about everything and showing us around. He drove us up the summit and took a few photos for myself and my girlfriend. It was very nice of him.”

Cooper has always had a soft spot for Ireland ever since he came to these shores with the Australian schoolboys team in 2005. He spent the duration of the tour being watered and fed by the Carroll family in Blackrock and his ties have remained strong to this day.

What they say when skies are grey..

A post shared by Quade Cooper (@quadecooper) on

“It’s just the hospitality of the Irish people and even my missus when she came in on the plane, her phone died and some people just came up and asked if she was my girlfriend and whatnot and gave her a phone charger. There’s great people here, a great atmosphere for rugby,” he added.

“I’ve got some great memories. We spent about three weeks here, had about four games. Me and Dave Pocock were actually just speaking about that in the changing sheds, had some good memories and just talking about few of the games here.

“It was a great time and have some very fond memories of being here as a schoolboy and then playing at Croke Park in 2010, the game ended in a draw. I have some amazing memories of being here and am grateful of being here to be again.”

The Wallabies playmaker has been named on the bench for Saturday’s Test against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium after shaking off the ankle injury which forced him out of last week’s win over France.

It was very much a missed opportunity for Cooper as his chance to stake a claim for inclusion this week turned into a frustrating evening watching from the stands.

With Michael Cheika preferring the more reliable Bernard Foley at out-half, Cooper has seen just three minutes of game time during the three matches of Australia’s northern hemisphere tour.

“It’s frustrating but at the end of the day that’s part of footy, you’ve got to take your opportunities when they come,” Cooper said at yesterday’s press conference.

Quade Cooper and Tevita Kuridrani Cooper in training during the week. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“I had one there (in Paris) that didn’t turn out, so I’ll just wait for my next opportunity and be patient.

“With football it’s a matter of being patient and when I get the opportunity it will be the right one. On the weekend it just wasn’t my time. But we got the win, that’s the main thing that matters moving forward in this tour.

“I’ve prepared this week for whatever role I’m needed and I look forward to being out with the boys again.”

Once heralded as one of the most explosive and devastating attacking threats in world rugby, Cooper has endured something of a fall from grace.

He has been forced to bide his time from the bench, something the Queensland Red says he is currently content to do.

“I mean it’s pretty much the last few years with a few injuries and things like that and I guess that’s been my role in this team at the moment,” he said.

“I’ve been over to France, come back. Played a few games, started a few games and I’m quite content with where I’m at. Being able to work my way back into the squad first and foremost and then push for a starting position and like I said I just have to wait for my opportunity and when that comes make sure that I’m healthy and feeling good.

“I’ll get opportunities at some stage but my role in the team at the moment is what’s been asked of me and whether that’s sitting on the bench or not, I just have to do that as best I can and be patient.”

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