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Cooper confident of Wilkinson rapport
22 May 2005 11:01am
Gareth Cooper is confident he can strike up an effective relationship with Jonny Wilkinson and help propel the British & Irish Lions to victory over Argentina on Monday night.
It could be a difficult task for Cooper given the Lions squad has only been together in Cardiff for a few days and he has never played with Wilkinson before.
But Cooper is used to playing with Stephen Jones and he has seen many parallels between Wilkinson and the Wales fly-half, who is still on club duty in France.
"It is good to have a chance to play with Jonny. Hopefully we can gel quickly and maybe play together later on the tour," said Cooper.
"We have gelled together pretty well. We had some good team-building sessions. We have spent time together in training and it is just about knowing how far away he stands, and about communication.
"I have been impressed with the way he bosses the backline. It's great to have him in the side.
"The time we have spent together has gone well. It's been a good week, just getting to know each other, training hard.
"Watching him play, he is a talented kicker of the ball and an abrasive tackler - very similar to Stephen Jones really.
"They both take the ball up to the line well, Steve is a big defender as well and a good kicker of the ball. Their talents mirror each other."
"I am just looking forward to it now. I have played in Cardiff for Wales and to play for the Lions is the pinnacle of my career. And it is a great asset to have Jonny on our side."
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