Faingaa says Cooper's confidence still high
Updated: September 22, 2011, 00:53
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand(AP) Wallabies center Anthony Faingaa says he has seen no signs of flagging confidence from flyhalf Quade Cooper since Australia's loss to Ireland at the Rugby World Cup.
Cooper had one of his weakest games in the Australian jersey against the Irish but has the chance to restore his reputation when the Wallabies face the United States in a Pool C match on Friday.
Faingaa said Thursday he saw no indication in training that Cooper, his Queensland Reds teammate, had lost any of his natural brashness since last weekend.
"Not too much knocks Quade around,'' Faingaa said. "He's pretty confident at the best of times. Quade's been fine. For us it's just about moving forward. That game's gone past, now it's all about looking forward to the USA and Russia.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said on Wednesday that he had had "dialogue'' with Cooper about his failings in the Irish game, though the New Zealand-born No. 10 hadn't been singled out for criticism. Deans said that dialogue extended to all players who were aware they had to learn the lessons of the Ireland defeat.
The Wallabies coach cited decision-making as one of the key areas of deficiency against the Irish and it was in that area that Cooper may have fallen short.
Scrumhalf Will Genia, who will captain Australia for the first time on Friday, said the Wallabies had learned that World Cup games were tighter and more dominated by defense than the matches its players were used to playing in the Super 15 and Tri-Nations tournaments.
Genia said it may be necessary for the Wallabies to partially shelve their natural attacking style and play a tighter game, based more on field position in the remainder of its World Cup matches.
"The big thing for us is that we . . . work to simplify things in the decision-making, to look to put pressure on them by maybe not playing so much, maybe playing more field position,'' Genia said.
"We'll look to control the game a little in that sense but we still have the confidence in our ability to do the job, no doubt about that.''
Faingaa said he believed Cooper has the skill to play any style Australia chooses to adopt.
"To be honest, I don't know what Quade is capable of,'' he said. "He seems to amaze me every time we run onto the field.
"Quade does have that sort of game. I've played with him the last three or four years. He can play territory and we did it throughout the whole year. It's just a matter of pulling that out of his toolbox and playing that sort of game.''