Cooper ready for long road to recovery
SPOTLIGHT: Wallabies veteran Quade Cooper is preparing for the long road to recovery after going down with a serious Achilles tendon injury in Australia’s hard-fought 41-26 Rugby Championship win over Argentina.
In the second half of the Mendoza Test on Saturday, 34-year-old Cooper went down with the non-contact injury that has cast doubt over his 2023 Rugby World Cup hopes and future in the sport.
Cooper missed the home series against England with a calf injury and had been playing his first Test since guiding the Wallabies to five wins from his five appearances last year.
He joins the likes of Samu Kerevi (ACL), Angus Bell (toe), Andrew Kellaway (hamstring), Scott Sio (shoulder), Tom Banks (arm) and captain Michael Hooper (mental health leave) as unavailable for the next match against Los Pumas.
On Monday morning (AEST), Cooper released a statement on social media and said he was steeling himself for recovery.
“Ready and prepared for this journey,” he wrote on Instagram.
“Doesn’t mean it will be easy but I know I’ve prepared myself for the challenge ahead by building systems and habits to guide me through each obstacle on my path.”
Cooper thanked teammates, opponents and fans for rallying around him.
“Want to thank both my teammates and the Argentinian players for their support and care when I got injured,” he added.
“My teammates who continue to help me learn and grow each day I will miss you all but be supporting your journey as I continue mine. Our coaches for believing in me and continuing to push my growth.
“Our medical team who put so much time and energy into each and everyone of us. To the fans your (messages) of support have not gone I noticed.”
Either James O’Connor or Noah Lolesio appear likeliest to replace Cooper for the remainder of the Rugby Championship, which features two matches against South Africa and two against the struggling All Blacks once the Argentina leg finishes.
Cooper went down with a non-contact injury that has cast doubt over his 2023 Rugby World Cup hopes and future in the sport.