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‘I love you’: SBW bond behind Quade’s comeback

Quade Cooper hadn’t played for Australia for more than four years but Sunday’s finish couldn’t have been scripted in Hollywood.

Quade Cooper ended four years on the Wallabies scrapheap with one of the more remarkable redemption stories you’ll see.

Having not lined up in the green and gold since 2017, Cooper’s selection for Sunday’s Test against South Africa raised eyebrows as the 33-year-old was assumed to have had a line drawn through his name at international level.

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But Cooper made the most of his return to the international stage.

He scored 23 of the Wallabies’ points, including nailing a 40m penalty goal after the full-time siren to pull off a 28-26 win over the world champion Springboks side.

Cooper, who revealed in July that he couldn’t get Australian citizenship despite having represented the nation 70 times previously, showed his pride in the jersey.

With a conversion and seven penalties, Cooper had his best points tally in Aussie colours.

Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper said Cooper was “a big game player and he stepped up and said ‘nah, I got it (the penalty kick)’ and he nailed it”.

Post-game, dual code international Sonny Bill Williams paid tribute to Cooper.

“That’s what I loved about that moment — big stage, big time players step up,” he said. “Tonight has shown me the love and support that my close ones, they used to get excited when I had achieved something great on the field. I got really emotional when he nailed that kick because I know the hardship that Quade has had to overcome in the last few years culminating in this kick. It’s just great to see, good on you QC.”

While Williams was blown away by the scenes of the Wallabies swamping Cooper, the Aussie fly-half looked calm after the madness and paid tribute to Williams.

“It’s footy you know,” Cooper began. “I hate to put my brother in the studio on the spot there but I’m so grateful to him. When things went a bit pear-shaped a few years ago, he was the first guy to reach out to me. I spent about two or three months with him, just living with him every day. Just seeing what it takes to be a good strong man, every day.

“You see him with his family and see him with his teammates, the dedication, the hard work he puts into his day-to-day life, not just when he turns up to footy training, every single day. It’s about being a better man for himself and his family and everything else. I love you brother, and I appreciate everything bro.”

Williams replied: “I love you, too. I’m still waiting for the rent that my wife was expecting for that two months. But nah bro, straight up, so proud of you.”

World reacts to Cooper’s crazy redemption story

South Africa’s powerful pack proved too much for the Wallabies on three occasions during the match with tries from mauls close to Australia’s line.

But thanks to the calm and composed Cooper, the Wallabies found a way win in front of 15,191 fans.

The contest took a twist in the 16th minute when Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi was shown a yellow card and sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes for a dangerous tackle on Wallabies fullback Tom Banks.

Having gained territory from the subsequent penalty, the Wallabies went on the attack and were rewarded with a try to winger Andrew Kellaway.

Cooper was involved in the build-up, throwing a dangerous pass to inside centre Samu Kerevi, who broke through the Springboks defensive line before delivering a lineball pass to Kellaway.

While the South Africans never went away, the stage was set perfectly for Cooper when Damian Willemse missed the conversion of his side’s final try, which would have given the Springboks a three-point lead.

But when Nic White earned a late penalty for South Africa not releasing on the ground, Cooper made himself a hero.

Social media erupted for the incredible redemption arc.

with NCA Newswire

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