Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams says the struggling Wallabies would benefit from Quade Cooper’s playmaking talents in the wake of an ugly Bledisloe Cup clean sweep.
Australia had last won the Bledisloe Cup back in 2002 and their drought in the competition continued this year as they were swept 3-0 in the series after losing 33-25, 57-22 and 38-21 in the three Tests.
Cooper was recalled to the Wallabies squad recently and an unlikely comeback for the 33-year-old appeared possible when he was put up for media duties in the lead-up to the third Test last week.
But with first-choice flyhalf James O’Connor still sidelined by injury, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie persisted with 21-year-old Noah Lolesio in the third Test this past Saturday, with Reece Hodge and Matt To’omua providing backup. Lolesio went on to produce an erratic display and struggled to impose himself on the game, which in part led to Australia slumping to a 17-point defeat.
“The non-selection that baffled me before the game was the non-selection of Quade Cooper,” Williams said in his post-game analysis.
“I know that it might be biased coming from my lips, because I’m close to him but just from a rugby point of view, what he can add.
“Brother Reece, he’s Mr Fix-It, he’s a great player but I think in terms of unlocking this great All Blacks defence, Quade is your man.
“For me I think it’s a lack of belief in their own skill set, a lack of belief in pulling the trigger when the time is right, as we saw in that 20-minute spell when the All Blacks were down to 14 men,” Williams added.
“They didn’t pull the trigger at all and conversely the All Blacks seem to have that belief. They still pulled that trigger when they had a man down.”
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