British and Irish Lions: Rob Howley issues Quade Cooper warning
Last Updated: 08/06/13 10:16am
Quade Cooper: Queensland Reds' dangerman, according to Lions assistant coach Rob Howley
British and Irish Lions assistant coach Rob Howley has warned his side they must be wary of Quade Cooper when they face the Queensland Reds on Saturday.
Cooper missed out on selection for Australia's preliminary squad for the three-game series against the Lions that begins in Brisbane on 22 June, with James O'Connor in line to start at fly-half.
Saturday's game at the Suncorp Stadium therefore offers Cooper a chance to show Wallabies head coach Robbie Deans what he is missing out on and Howley is concerned of a backlash from the player.
"Quade Cooper has a point to prove. He is a hugely talented player who will be looking to have the ball in his hands as much as possible," said Howley.
"It is going to be a tough test. We are delighted they have picked the strongest side they could have done.
"While we stepped up a lot against the (Western) Force on Wednesday, we are under no underestimations about the level we need to hit against the Reds, and that's good. It is what we need.
"The quality of the opposition is going to be a test for our defence. Quade Cooper is a hugely talented player. He's a player who can do anything.
"He will create opportunities for the Reds, there is no doubt about that.
"We've concentrated on our defence because it's going to be key keeping not only Quade Cooper quiet, but a lot of other players in that Reds team as well."
Cooper will captain the Reds side against the Lions and he admits it will be a high point in his career.
"The history and tradition that surrounds the Lions obviously speaks for itself, so it will be quite humbling to lead Queensland out on Saturday," he said.
"It's a proud moment any time you get to lead a side, but the fact that I've been at the Reds since I was 15-years-old just adds to the occasion on a personal level."