Quade Cooper’s Wallabies career could be over after rupturing achilles against Argentina
Quade Cooper has suffered a devastating injury that could end his World Cup dream and Wallabies career. Watch the moment here.
It might not just be Quade Cooper’s season that is over, but his World Cup dream too.
The 34-year-old playmaker, who took no part in the 2-1 series defeat to England after hurting his calf in the warm-up before the opening Test in Perth, has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during the Wallabies’ 41-26 win over Los Pumas in Argentina.
The devastating injury blow is expected to see him miss the rest of the season and will likely see him miss the majority of the Japan League One season.
It’s a shocking blow for the playmaker, who last September resurrected his career by leading the Wallabies to five straight victories.
The injury, which can take up to a year to get back on the field, is a double whammy because at his age, in his position, few players rediscover their speed.
Australia show “character and courage” in the win over Argentina, fighting back from a half-time deficit to claim a bonus-point win in the Rugby Championship.
Sorry to see Quade Cooper go down with a left achilles rupture last night - typical non-contact pushing off mechanism. Has dealt with calf issues in recent times. Repair surgery ahead with a usual 6-8 month recovery period, wish him the best pic.twitter.com/bzzXznGS1y— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) August 6, 2022
The Wallabies trailed 19-10 at the break but recovered well to shatter the Pumas’ hopes of a first win over Australia in four years.
Australia were rocked on the eve of the game when captain Michael Hooper pulled out to protect his mental wellbeing.
Veteran flanker Hooper flew home from Mendoza after telling teammates he lacked the necessary “mindset” to play for his country, let alone lead them, in Saturday’s Test.
Prop James Slipper took over as captain while Fraser McReight was promoted to replace Hooper at openside flanker.
“I am really happy with how we finished,” said Australia coach Dave Rennie after the match.
“It’s a start but I am really happy with the character, we had a couple of late changes and losing a key guy within the game,” he said in reference to an injury suffered by Quade Cooper.
“That’s the thing about this group, there’s a lot of character and courage and they stood up.”
Argentina lost every match in last season’s Rugby Championship and hadn’t beaten Australia since 2018.
However, buoyed by a recent home series win over Scotland, they were ahead inside five minutes.
Santiago Carreras, in at fly-half in place of talisman Nicolas Sanchez, found Pablo Matera with a well-judged pass and the back-rower scored the opening try with Emiliano Boffelli kicking the extras.
Quade Cooper cut the deficit almost immediately with a penalty before Boffelli hit back with a Pumas penalty.
The winger added another three points as the Pumas stretched to 13-3 ahead inside just 15 minutes.
However, the Wallabies grabbed their first try when winger Jordan Petaia scored after the ball was worked wide from a maul.
Cooper kicked the conversion for 13-10 before Boffelli popped over his third penalty of the game.
Argentina forwards continued to dominate and Boffelli’s deadly accuracy with the boot resulted in another successful penalty for a 19-10 lead at the interval.
The influential Cooper’s night came to a premature end when the fly-half picked up an ankle injury and was replaced by Reece Hodge inside the first five minutes of the second period.
Moments later, the Wallabies were back in the game when McReight barreled over the line for a 50th-minute try at the end of a rolling maul.
The Pumas hit back five minutes later when flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez went over in the corner after the ball had been moved from inside his own half.
Boffelli again was on target with the conversion for a 26-17 lead. In a dizzying spell of play, the Wallabies were awarded a penalty try with Argentina lock Matias Alemanno sin-binned.
With 65 minutes on the clock, Hodge then hit a long range penalty as Australia edged ahead for the first time at 27-26.
Hooker Folau Fainga’a piled on the misery for the weary Pumas by peeling off the back of a maul to score and stretch the lead to 34-26.
Boffelli failed with the boot for the first time with a 50-metre penalty attempt.
Centre Len Ikitau then made sure of the bonus point when he scored Australia’s fourth try in the last minute.
The two sides meet again next week in San Juan.
RENNIE LAUDS WALLABIES CAPTAIN’S ‘COURAGE’ TO ADMIT STRUGGLES
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has hailed the bravery of a “struggling” Michael Hooper after the Australian captain’s decision to fly home early from his side’s tour of Argentina for personal reasons.
Hooper had been named to skipper the Wallabies in this weekend’s Rugby Championship Test against the Pumas in Mendoza.
However, the 30-year-old withdrew from the match, and the two-Test tour, telling his teammates he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to lead and represent the Wallabies.
The 121-Test veteran was replaced in the Wallabies side by Queensland Reds flanker Fraser McReight, with prop James Slipper named captain in Hooper’s absence.
“While this decision did not come easily I know it is the right one for me and the team at this point in time,” Hooper said.
“My whole career I’ve looked to put the team first, and I don’t feel I am able to fulfil my responsibilities at the moment in my current mindset.”
Rennie said Hooper’s problems weren’t “evident” in his training, tour contribution and leadership.
“But clearly he’s been struggling a bit and masking that pretty well,” Rennie said.
“Obviously he’s been able to suppress things over the past handful of weeks and so we certainly weren’t aware of anything but he’s such a professional and he was able to get on and do the job.
“He addressed the team, which took an enormous amount of courage, to let them know that he’s not OK and that he felt it was best for himself and for the team that he gets home.”
Rennie said Hooper had called team doctor Sharron Flahive on Friday (Australian time) after which he became aware of the serious nature of the Test veteran’s problems.
“It’s not uncommon in life, is it? It’s a cross-section of society and often men will say bugger all and suffer in silence,” Rennie said.
“He’s shown true courage by acknowledging where he is at and acting on it.
“It took a lot of courage for him to address the group, so a huge amount of respect from everyone and a respect that we want to get him home and get as much support around him as we can.”
Rennie said no timeline had been put on Hooper’s return.
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said Hooper was an “incredible leader”.
“It takes a brave man to identify where he’s at and come forward whilst having the best interests of the team at heart,” Marinos said.
“His wellbeing is and remains the highest priority right now where Rugby Australia and the Australian rugby community will do everything to support him and his family.”
Originally published as Quade Cooper’s Wallabies career could be over after rupturing achilles against Argentina