Genia and Cooper ready to star
Queensland Reds pair excite coach Robbie Deans
Last Updated: 05/08/11 3:11pm
Cooper: Chance to shine
Will Genia and Quade Cooper are shaping as the latest Australian double act to have New Zealand rugby fans on edge ahead of Saturday's Bledisloe Cup match in Auckland.
Australian rugby had long been well served by combinations like Catchpole and Hawthorne, Hipwell and Fairfax, Hipwell and McLean, Farr-Jones and Lynagh and Gregan and Larkham, and the two Reds are the latest manifestation of that, and key contributors to sinking the Crusaders in this year's Super Rugby final.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said of them: "They complement each other, they are both very able, they are both very aware which is a key skill in the game because, as we all know, your opportunities come from your opposition.
"You can have ideas during the week, but if they don't fit the moment then they're not good ideas.
"The fact they demand attention from the opposition means the more of those sorts of threats you have got, and capabilities you have got - and not all of them are x-factor capabilities - it's the yards and physical prowess.
"But the way you bring those together and the more scope you have got the more challenging it is for the defence and the more scope there is for blokes who are aware and able and alert to take advantage of what presents itself and that's what those two blokes do pretty well.
"The suggestion that it is all erratic I can assure you it is far from that. It's off the back of a lot of work, not only as individuals but also as teams. A lot of those blokes get credit for being born with God-given gifts - it doesn't happen that way.
"They work hard at what they do and they develop those capabilities."
Digby Ioane is another who thrived in the Reds campaign and often moved into the five-eighths for the heavy stuff while Cooper ranged out the back to launch his highly effective counter-attacking thrusts.
Ioane has a great capacity for work and he loves being involved, Deans said, while Cooper has not defended in the front-line this year.
"It would have been a big adjustment for him to go back into that. It's not that we don't believe he can't do it, he defended there right throughout last year's campaign, but he's established in that role so we thought it catered for our need," Deans said.
And it was not as if Ioane did not relish the chance, as he topped the tackle and carry count in the Wallabies win over South Africa.
"He's a remarkable man," Deans said of his wing.