Genia backs Cooper to bounce back
Updated: September 21, 2011, 01:07
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand(AP) Australia scrumhalf Will Genia may never be the star at the poker table he is on the rugby field. He lacks a poker face.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was asked at a media conference on Wednesday whether Quade Cooper, Genia's partner in the Australian halves, might have to curb his reckless streak at the Rugby World Cup after some poor tacitical decisions in its loss to Ireland.
While Deans provided a typically broad and reasoned answer, touching on the relative merits of having Cooper play within limits while not blunting his natural attacking style, Genia couldn't supress a laugh.
In many ways his involuntary response was as articulate as Deans'. It said, effectively, when it comes to Cooper's style, he's his own man.
Deans said that poor decision-making was at the root of Australia's 15-6 loss to Ireland which likely consigns it to second place in its pool and to a quarterfinal meeting with world champion South Africa.
He didn't identify Cooper's decision-making as a particularly problem but admitted he had spoken to the flamboyant flyhalf since the match about some of his tactical choices.
"We have constant dialogue, obviously, as the whole group does,'' Deans said. "If Quade was here he'd tell you if he had his time again he might make some different choices but that's what makes this game what it is, a great game.
"And it's a great event, the World Cup, and that's what makes it special. There's no certainty, anyone who presumes certainty will learn.
"It's absolutely certain that he won't get every decision right. Neither will Willie (Genia), neither will any of us, nor will any player at this tournament.''
Genia's chuckle hadn't gone unnoticed and he was asked whether it signified any doubt on his own part that Cooper, his Queensland Reds teammate, may be able to modify his game.
Genia was adamant that Cooper won't lose confidence because of his performance against Ireland and that he will bounce back when Australia plays the United States on Friday.
"He's not that sort of a guy,'' Genia said. "As we've said, the biggest thing (about the loss to Ireland) is our response.
"Not everyone's going to make the right decision every time on the field. But the big thing is Quade is maturing. He understands that sometimes you don't make the right decision and we just go back and start again, tighten it up and keep it simple.
"That's something he's really spoken about this week and hopefully he puts that into practice on Friday. I know he will.''