Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Boxing clever for Cooper's confidence



Sparring for his professional boxing debut has given controversial Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper a confidence boost ahead of the upcoming Super Rugby season, Reds coach Ewan McKenzie said on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old New Zealand-born back steps into the ring on February 8 on the undercard of close friend and World Cup winning All Black Sonny Bill Williams' bout with Francois Botha.

The bout was agreed upon weeks before Cooper eventually signed a new contract with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to continue with the Wallabies and Reds after a year of well-publicised spats with the governing body.

Cooper was a shadow of his creative self last year, producing a number of below par performances after recovering from a serious knee injury.

His frustrations boiled over when he described the Wallabies camp as a "toxic environment" that he felt was "destroying" him.

But McKenzie, who with Cooper helped secure the Reds the 2011 Super Rugby title, said that rather than the boxing hindering his rugby, he has seen positives from the diversity.

"If you are going to put yourself out there in front of a big TV audience and a crowd one-on-one ... you can't help think he is getting some benefit from a confidence point of view," McKenzie told reporters on Tuesday.

"He's been getting his boxing done around normal training. The quality of his rugby training has been outstanding, he seems in a very good space.

"He is highly motivated and very switched on. He is adding a lot not just in terms of the team but also a lot of mentoring around some of the younger guys."

McKenzie said that Reds and Wallabies captain James Horwill was also on track to play in the season opener against the Brumbies on Feb. 16 as he continues to recover from hamstring issues.

The lock has been missing since May with the problem and may not play in preseason matches as to avoid any setbacks.

"He (Horwill) is on track, we haven't rushed him. It's been methodical and very positive," he said of his captain's progress.

"We haven't picked trial teams yet. We have to give opportunities for guys around the edges so we will manage that.

"And we know we have a tough start to the season with the Brumbies. We will have a look at it."

However, Mckenzie was unsure how much longer Will Genia will be out for.

The talented Wallabies scrumhalf underwent knee reconstruction surgery last year and McKenzie said the player was ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation.

"I don't have a fixed date but he has tracked very well," McKenzie said.

"His rehab has been perfect. We just have to make sure we don't have any setbacks, he will be right when he is right. But he has been good, possibly ahead of schedule."

Shop

The Poisoned Chalice
The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure
R160.00
Coach - Marco Botha
At 34, Heyneke Meyer was fired as head coach of a Super Rugby team for the second time
R114.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Kyle Brown
Hunting the Pearl of the Orient
Hong Kong is the host city for the sixth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series. It is a tournament...

Brendan Venter
Old dogs, new tricks
Some may brush it off as an anomaly but I believe the 221 points and 27 tries scored during the...

Tony Johnson
It just never ends
Thirteen cards, including three reds, and 140 penalties spread over just six games.

Gavin Rich
How to remove imperfection from progress
There is general agreement that the referee and match officials on duty at Kings Park last weekend...

Brenden Nel
Bismarck at the crossroads
Gary Gold is right. Bismarck du Plessis is targeted by opposition teams.

Super Wrap
SuperWrap: Week 6, 2015
To the casual observer the story of last Saturday’s rugby will have had an all-too-familiar look to...