Quade Cooper backs off Deans criticism

JIM MORTON
Last updated 20:57 23/09/2012
Quade Cooper
Getty Images
FRUSTRATION BUILDS: A series of since-deleted tweets from Quade Cooper show the frustration the Wallabies No 10 is experiencing in Robbie Deans' system.

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Outspoken playmaker Quade Cooper has labelled the Wallabies a "toxic environment" but says it's one he wants to fix.

A frustrated Cooper on Sunday night denied he was attempting to undermine coach Robbie Deans following a series of negative Twitter posts against the Australian Rugby Union and the Wallabies set-up.

But the sidelined five-eighth, whose own future in the game now appears shaky, felt he needed to speak out about in-house problems within the national team.

Cooper started speaking his mind on Thursday when he criticised Australia's boring style, warning they would continue to lose fans and Bledisloe Tests against New Zealand with conservative tactics.

Then among a series of controversial tweets on Saturday, he said he was only allowed to play his exciting game in Super Rugby for Queensland and might join close friend Sonny Bill Williams in the NRL next season.

Cooper said the tweets were not an attack on Deans but the whole Wallabies/ARU set-up - players, selectors, officials and coaches alike - which he believed was a far cry from the professionalism of the Reds.

"There's a lot of people who are afraid to say what they feel so they just go along with it and nothing is going to change," he told AAP on Sunday night.

"That's why I feel so strongly as a player. I don't want to be involved in the toxic environment, and that's how it is at the moment.

"It's an environment where things aren't going according to plan and everyone is looking to point the finger."

Cooper stressed he loved the code and would continue to play under Deans, who is under pressure to keep his job from Reds coach Ewen McKenzie.

"All I want to do is fix the problems and get on with it and win rugby games," the 24-year-old said.

"But if to say that Ewen is the next coach of course I would support that.

"That's not to say I'm not supporting Robbie. He's done a lot for me as a kid coming through.

"I'm very respectful to Robbie and I'm very thankful to Robbie as well for giving me the opportunity that he has.

"But for me it's about bettering myself and bettering the country and I'm just sick of losing to the All Blacks.

"I hate losing."

Cooper also identified poor selections as an impediment and cited the late, but successful, Test call-up of Reds winger Dom Shipperley due to injuries as an example of form Super Rugby players being overlooked.

The 38-Test five-eighth signed a three-year contract to remain with Queensland in June but with ARU negotiations dragging on there's concerns he'll be lost to rugby.

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"I don't want to come across as a mercenary but I feel very strongly about how this is run because I'm part of it and I want to succeed," he said.

"There would have to be big things to take me away from the game but at the same time I don't want to be a pawn in things that aren't moving forward."

- AAP

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