Cooper defends Reds' bad boy image

Wed, 26 Mar 2014 09:26
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Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper admitted the Reds will have to "make adjustments", but denied that they are deliberately transgressing.

Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper admitted the Reds will have to "make adjustments", but denied that they are deliberately transgressing.

The Reds have conceded the most penalties and free-kicks in the opening six weeks of Super Rugby - their 75 transgressions putting them at the top of the bad boy table at 15 per match.

Add their four yellow cards, also the highest in the competition, and it may appear to some as if the men from Brisbane have no respect for the law.

Cooper admitted he has been bewildered by some referees' calls, but said the 2011 champions are maintaining a positive approach as they look to turn their season around against the Stormers in Brisbane on Saturday,

The Reds are still fuming over South African referee Stuart Berry's influence in their 20-23 loss to the Lions in Johannesburg last Saturday - when the Reds' 20-3 lead evaporated under a 17 to four penalty count.

However, SANZAR has cleared Berry of any wrongdoing in a vigorous review this week which saw three match officials - Australian James Leckie, South Africa's Lourens van der Merwe and Argentinean match official Francisco Pastrana - struck from the referees' panel.

Cooper said the heavy penalty count against the Reds are giving his team an unwanted tag as the tournament's bad boys.

"When you are penalised so much it is detrimental to your game so we have to fix that up," the flyhalf told the Australian Associated Press.

"But the attitude of the boys is the most important thing. We continue to be positive and to work hard.

"Once we get on the field we can't be whinging."

But Cooper admitted he was "bewildered" by some penalties.

"As a No.10 I am thinking that anyway, because most of the penalties are when there is a scrum or a line-out," he said.

"I am not too privy to the majority of the technicalities of it, just like everybody else sitting in the crowd.

"[But] there is nothing to get frustrated about when you know the team is making every effort to win the game."

Cooper would not entertain the notion that they now had a target on their heads in the referee's eyes.

"That's a question for the referees," he said.

"We are not going to worry about referees' opinions of the team or ways they might find to penalise us, that's not how we are approaching each game."

Source: AAP

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