Quade Cooper to step up World Cup bid after Barbarians selection by Eddie Jones
Quade Cooper will step up his Rugby World Cup comeback bid by turning out for the Barbarians against the World XV at Twickenham.
Australia boss Eddie Jones has drafted fly-half Cooper into his Baa-Baas ranks for the May 28 clash in west London, with his Wallabies team-mate Samu Kerevi another powerful addition.
Veteran playmaker Cooper has been battling back to fitness after rupturing an Achilles tendon in late 2022, and has big designs on making the World Cup in France in September.
Now the 35-year-old will have an opportunity to impress the Wallabies’ new boss up close and personal, by linking up with Jones’ Barbarians at the end of the month.
Australia are busy rebuilding under new boss Jones ahead of the World Cup, where the Wallabies could be on a collision course for a quarter-final clash against the taskmaster coach’s former employers England.
Jones will honour his commitment to the Barbarians clash despite his Wallabies duties, teeing up an intriguing battle of wits with World XV coach Steve Hansen, the two-time All Blacks World Cup winner.
Livewire fly-half Cooper and potent centre Kerevi will provide a fine backline foil for Jones’ team, with Harlequins and England prop Joe Marler already on board.
Wales stars Alun Wyn Jones, Rhys Webb and Taulupe Faletau will also swell Jones’ ranks, with Bristol’s ex-All Blacks forward Steven Luatua involved too.
Hansen’s World XV will boast Bristol’s departing star duo Charles Piutau and Semi Radradra, with London Irish lock Api Ratuniyarawa among a fine cast list.
Barbarians boss Jones has admitted he is fully focused on proving a point on a quick-fire return to Twickenham, having been sacked by England in December.
“I am very much looking forward to returning to Twickenham, a venue I have so many fond memories of, and I’m more motivated than ever to put on a show,” said Jones.
“Going up against Steve (Hansen) rekindles a great rivalry which first started in our days competing in Super Rugby and progressed into the international area.
“It’ll be a great challenge and one I’m sure we’re both relishing.”
General admission tickets for the blockbuster Barbarian FC vs World XV clash are on sale now from www.ticketmaster.co.uk/barbarians at the early-bird price of just £25 for adults and £15 for under-16s.