Quade Cooper’s Wallabies teammates were among those to throw support his way after the veteran playmaker declared he was “prepared for the journey” of recovering from a serious achilles injury that could rule him out of next year’s World Cup.
Cooper, 34, hurt himself in the second half of Australia’s hard-fought 41-26 Rugby Championship win over Argentina in Mendoza on Sunday. The injury has cast doubt over his 2023 Rugby World Cup hopes and future in the sport.
Cooper was playing his first Test since guiding the Wallabies to five wins from his five appearances last year, having missed the home series against England.
But Cooper, who was one of coach Dave Rennie’s overseas-based players in his squad and firmly in World Cup plans, declared the injury was just another “obstacle on my path”.
“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.
“Prepare for the storm so you are strong enough to endure it.”
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Cooped joined a growing list of injured Wallabies, including Samu Kerevi (ACL), Angus Bell (toe), Andrew Kellaway (hamstring), Scott Sio (shoulder), Tom Banks (arm) and captain Michael Hooper, who flew home from Argentina before the game citing mental health reasons.
Either James O’Connor or Noah Lolesio, who called Cooper “dad” on the Instagram post, will likely take over at five-eighth for the remainder of the Rugby Championship.
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The Wallabies play Argentina again this weekend before two matches against South Africa, who just defeated New Zealand, and then the struggling All Blacks.
Reece Hodge, who replaced Cooper midgame on Sunday, also looms as an option.
“We’ve had a reasonable run of injuries, haven’t we?” coach Dave Rennie said. “What we know with (Hodge) is he has strengths all over the place this week and what we needed was other guys to step up.”