Barbarian stint could be Cooper's road back to Wallabies
NEWS: Eddie Jones is apparently willing to give Samu Kerevi and the ageing Quade Cooper a chance to prove themselves in the Barbarian side against a World XV later this month at Twickenham.
The pair have only just returned from injury but have already caught the eye of the rugby pundits in Japan.
Kerevi made his long-awaited return from the knee injury he suffered playing for Australia at last August’s Commonwealth Games.
With Kerevi’s return coming a week after Cooper (35) made his comeback from the ruptured achilles he sustained in the same month, Australia’s backline resources are coming together nicely four months out from the Rugby World Cup.
After playing 40 minutes on return last weekend, Cooper was on the field for an hour on Saturday and weaved his magic, scoring a try and setting up another from a pinpoint high kick, as Hanazono Kintetsu Liners retained their Division One status with a crushing 56-21 win over Israel Folau’s Urayasu D-Rocks.
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The people you find lurking the hallways in Japan 🏽 two of the best I’ve had the privilege of playing footy with and now to play against them in Japan. Great players even better humans pic.twitter.com/bkwXGL5pAT
— Quade Cooper (@QuadeCooper) May 7, 2023
The experienced pair will be looking to play themselves into World Cup contention after long-term injuries.
The Barbarians will face the World XV, coached by Steve Hansen, on 28 May.
Cooper and Kerevi are set to join Alun Wyn Jones, Rhys Webb and Taulupe Faletau in the Barbarians ranks.
While a number of England players approached by Jones are unlikely to be available, with the game falling in the middle of players’ mandatory five-week rest period, Cooper and Kerevi will add significant creativity and firepower to the Barbarians.
The mercurial Cooper returned to the Wallaby fold in 2021 after four years in the international wilderness, with Jones hinting he is firmly in Australia’s World Cup plans as one of three fly-halves.
Meanwhile, Kerevi impressed against Jones’ England on the summer tour in July but suffered a serious knee injury playing sevens in August and has only just made his return to competitive action.
The World Cup in France starts on 8 September.
Meanwhile, Hansen is set to unleash a powerful World XV, with Charles Piutau, Ngani Laumape, Marika Koroibete, Semi Radradra, and Israel Folau all set to feature.