O’Connor hopeful Cooper will stay

Quade Cooper wants to prove himself against the very best and that means his team-mates are hopeful he will face the Lions in two years' time. [more]

O’Connor hopeful Cooper will stay

Quade Cooper wants to prove himself against the very best and that means his team-mates are hopeful he will face the Lions in two years’ time.

The mercurial outside-half has been regularly linked with big money moves overseas and to rugby league, with NRL side Parramatta Eels a much talked about destination.

Cooper finally signed a one-year contract extension with Queensland Reds and the Australian Rugby Union but that only takes him up to part way through 2012, a year shy of the next Lions adventure.

The 23-year-old remains one of the hottest properties in the game despite a disappointing World Cup campaign in which he under performed on the big stage.

But international colleague and close friend James O’Connor is backing Cooper to bounce back from a disappointing couple of months and he remains hopeful the Kiwi-born star will commit his long-term future to the Wallabies sooner rather than later.

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"The big thing with Quade, he's such an awesome player that he wants to test himself against the best players in the world," said O'Connor.

"He's had the chance to do that (at the World Cup) and it's up to him personally what he wants to do.

"But it (a new contract with the ARU) is definitely viable, definitely on the cards. I know he's one of those guys who always want to prove himself to everyone."

Cooper will miss the forthcoming tour of the UK as a result of the torn ACL he suffered in the semi-final defeat to New Zealand a week-and-a-half ago but O’Connor isn’t worried about who will replace him.

The Wallabies take on the Barbarians at Twickenham on November 26 before facing Wales at the Millennium Stadium on December 3, with Berrick Barnes expected to wear the No10 shirt for those fixtures.

But below Barnes the cupboard looks a little bare for coach Robbie Deans and O’Connor could well be asked to take over at 10 if another injury strikes.

''There's a couple of guys who can slot in. I've spent a bit of time at 10 and so has Kurtley [Beale],'' added O’Connor.

''So you've got Barnesy, Kurtley and myself who can all play 10 and we've got a lot of centres, which is probably a big asset to us.

''We've also got guys on the fringes as well who can slot in the wing and fullback positions, so we do have a lot of depth in the backline.''

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