Farrell keen to see the back of Cooper

As we wrote yesterday, Quade Cooper’s omission from the Australia squad is a decision that could come back to haunt coach Robbie Deans.

And now Lions defence coach Andy Farrell has stirred the pot by saying he is more than happy that the mercurial fly-half is not going to be involved when the Lions run out against the Wallabies on 22nd June.

“He’s a bloody good player,” Farrell senior told reporters. “If I was a coach I’d want him in my side. Having said that, I don’t know the background and the ins and outs of why he was not selected. He’s certainly a handful, brings a lot to the party so I’m pretty pleased.

“They’ve got quite a few backs that pass, with (Kurtley) Beale back in the squad and James O’Connor and Adam Ashley-Cooper, they’ve got a magnificent backline. But Quade adds something a little bit different.”

Very few players split opinion in the way that Cooper does, as he continues to mix the sublime with the daft. Playing for the Reds against the Lions on Saturday, some of the passes he threw (off both hands) were a joy to behold, but at the same time when he cannot quite pick that magic pass he does have a propensity to run up blind allies, or chuck a pass that simply isn’t on.

Controversially, troubled star Kurtley Beale was included in the squad over Cooper. The Rebels outside half has been struggling with alcohol-related issues this season, but makes the squad anyway after being fast-tracked back. It is a mark of how far Cooper has fallen in Deans’ estimations that someone with as difficult a background as Beale has got in ahead of him.