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RugbyU: Cooper could get Wallaby reprieve

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Maverick Queensland Reds playmaker Quade Cooper is likely to see his Wallaby career resurrected under Ewen McKenzie as the new coach seeks to transform the team into a more attacking unit.

The polarising flyhalf has not featured for Australia since he labelled the Wallabies atmosphere "toxic" following last September's narrow win over Argentina, seeing him left out of the squad to face the British and Irish Lions.

But with Robbie Deans gone and Cooper's director of coaching at Queensland replacing him, the odds are that he will be recalled for their next match against the champion All Blacks in Sydney on August 17.

McKenzie has championed Cooper's cause and said before the Lions series that he should be on the team. And he made clear after his appointment as Wallabies coach on Tuesday that he remains a great admirer.

"I think Quade is an outstanding player. I'm now in a position to control exactly who is going to play and who isn't," McKenzie said.

"I look forward to the challenge of selecting the team. I'll be picking the team that I think can beat the All Blacks. I'm really looking forward to that task. I think we've got a really good bunch of players.

"I think we've got great depth."

James O'Connor took Cooper's place in the Wallabies lineup, but he received mixed reviews and his club the Melbourne Rebels decided on Sunday not to offer him a contract beyond the 2013 season.

O'Connor is one of a handful of players whose recent off-field behaviour has overshadowed their sporting achievements and McKenzie made clear he will not tolerate any ill-discipline.

The new Wallaby coach revealed little about his thoughts on O'Connor.

"Obviously, I've had a good look at the last three games," he said.

"I've seen James O'Connor out there playing, but I've never coached him. There's a bunch of players like that, so I'll need to work all that out."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130710/rugbyu-cooper-could-get-wallaby-reprieve