Quade Cooper has lauded the emergence of “maverick” fly-halves such as Marcus Smith, who he hopes to come up against this November.
Wallabies play maker Cooper is arguably one of the most exciting fly-halves to have ever played the game, with his arsenal of side steps, outrageous passes and varied kicking game.
The 33-year-old recently made his return to international rugby with Australia after a four-year absence, and although he is a more composed and assured player than he once was, he still admires exciting play.
Cooper was speaking to the Daily Mail about the current crop of fly-halves making waves in international rugby and praised the talents of players such as Finn Russell and Marcus Smith, both of whom he could come up against next month.
Quade Cooper on ‘maverick’ fly-halves such as Marcus Smith.
“If you look at number 10s around the world now, you’ve got Finn Russell, Marcus Smith, Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo’unga,” Cooper said.
“Electric, entertaining players who have a skillset other than just standing in the pocket and kicking the ball. It’s only over the last five or so years that those guys are getting respect and their faces are starting to fit.
“Maybe before you would be written off as a maverick who is unreliable. The more those guys are empowered and the more they continue to grow, the more kids will come through and want to play like them.
“The media and current players need to get behind these players and support them, rather than smash them and bury them if they have one bad game.
“Hopefully I will play against Marcus Smith one day but either way I’ll continue to love the work he does.”
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 8, 2021
Rugby fans hope for entertaining rugby this autumn.
Rugby came under plenty of criticism in the summer for the dour spectacle that was the British and Irish Lions’ test series with South Africa, which featured very little exciting play until the introduction of Russell in the third game.
However, exciting rugby has certainly overshadowed it’s conservative counterpart in recent weeks, with even South Africa employing a more entertaining, and successful, style of play against New Zealand recently.
The return of club rugby in the northern hemisphere has also seen plenty of positive play, with Harlequins perhaps leading the way with their early season exploits in the Gallagher Premiership.
Cooper could get plenty of the exciting rugby he badly desires in the coming weeks, as Australia take on the always entertaining Japan first, before potential run-ins with Russell and Smith against Scotland and England.
He will have to wait until next year before an encounter with either Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett of New Zealand though, in what could be the closest Bledisloe Cup in years should Australia continue their good form.