Cooper must prove himself - Deans
Australia coach Robbie Deans admits Quade Cooper will need to prove himself before regaining his starting berth in the Wallabies side.
The mercurial stand-off has been included in the Aussies' 30-man squad for the inaugural Rugby Championship after returning to fitness following a serious knee injury picked up in last year's World Cup. The 24-year-old has eased his way back into the game and now appears ready to return to the highest level as the men from Down Under prepare to face New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina home and away in the newly-formed competition. Cooper is a player that polarises opinion, as he has the ability to rip open defences but can also commit basic errors that cost his side points, and Deans has made it clear that the New Zealand-born fly-half will not be rushed back into the fray at the expense of Berrick Barnes before he is ready. "We've got an idea in mind but as is always the case we'll communicate that with the playing group first," he said. "Proving himself will obviously be high on Quade's mind - no doubt but we won't push him beyond his state of readiness. "We've had a good couple of bursts with him and there was significant growth in him in the second camp." Elsewhere in the squad Radike Samo and Drew Mitchell have been recalled after recovering from injury and proving their fitness in the final weeks of the Super Rugby season. Liam Gill, Jake Schatz and Kane Douglas have also been called up by Deans, but James O'Connor and Pat McCabe miss out due to injury. However, Deans was quick to point out that both players are likely to feature as the tournament progresses. "James is rehabbing very well. He's under the care of a hamstring specialist who's got more of an AFL background based in Melbourne," he added. "He's working very hard. He's making good progress but we will not promote him before he's ready, particularly with the potential for recurrent injuries. Australia start their campaign against New Zealand in Sydney on August 18, before flying out to Auckland for the return match against the World Cup winners seven days later. Australia: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Kurtley Beale, Quade Cooper, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Anthony Fainga'a, Saia Fainga'a, Will Genia, Liam Gill, Mike Harris, Scott Higginbotham, Michael Hooper, Rob Horne, Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Drew Mitchell, Stephen Moore, Nick Phipps, David Pocock (capt), Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Radike Samo, Jake Schatz, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Sitaleki Timani, Nic White.