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Deans not talking to Cooper about Wallabies

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has not spoken to Quade Cooper at all about selection

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Article Published: Friday 24 May 2013|

Former Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper has revealed that he has had no contact "at all" with Australia coach Robbie Deans since he was left out of an initial Wallabies squad for the British and Irish Lions series.

Cooper told South Africa's Sport24 website that he would respond to his dropping by focusing on his role with Super Rugby team the Reds, and hasn't been fretting over whether he'll be added to the Australia squad when six additional players are called up early next month.

"My omission is something that I have no control over, but I can only respond by working harder by doing well for the Reds and continue to enjoy my rugby," Cooper, who has 38 test caps, said in Thursday's interview in Cape Town.

"I haven't been in contact with Robbie Deans and the Wallaby setup at all. There is no point in looking too far into the future. I first have a job to do with the Reds."

Although Cooper could still make the Wallabies group for the three-test series starting June 22, Deans' decision to leave him out of his first 25-man squad was a clear sign that the coach now views James O'Connor as his first-choice No. 10, with backup from Berrick Barnes and Christian Lealiifano.

Cooper's relationship with Deans disintegrated last season when the talented but unpredictable playmaker publicly criticized the atmosphere in the squad under the New Zealand-born coach, calling it "toxic."

He also praised Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie - Deans' likely successor for the Wallabies job - in his interview for Sport24, underlining his loyalty to the Reds boss.

"It's a pleasure to play in the current Reds setup under Ewen McKenzie as coach. I have to take advice and listen to the coach so that I can try to improve all aspects of my game," Cooper said.

Deans denied Cooper's time as a Wallaby was over this weekend when naming his initial 25 to take on the Lions in tests in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in June and July, saying "people will say that's the end for Quade, but that's not the case."

Ahead of the next Wallabies selections on June 11, Cooper will continue to lead the fourth-place Reds' push for a home semifinal in the Super 15, beginning with their game at the Stormers on Saturday.

McKenzie recalled No. 8 Radike Samo for his first Super Rugby start of the season and fullback Jono Lance also returned to the Reds starting lineup for the Stormers, while Cooper said he would again be in attacking mood at Newlands.

"People that come to watch rugby pay a lot of money and would love to be entertained," he said. "It's is our job as rugby players to go out and entertain them."

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