Cooper backs teammates
Monday July 16, 2012
Queensland Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper has been ruled out of Saturday’s Super Rugby Qualifying Final against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium after being found guilty of a dangerous tackle charge.
Cooper has been handed a one match suspension after a SANZAR judicial hearing via video conference under Paul Tully today found the playmaker contravened Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous Tackling when he made contact with the chest and neck of Waratahs player Berrick Barnes.
The incident occurred in the 63rd minute of the Reds bonus-point victory over the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday, which saw the reigning champions overtake the Brumbies as Australian Conference winners courtesy of a superior win-loss ratio, retain the Templeton Cup and earn the right to host a home final.
In his finding, Mr Tully ruled the following:
“Whilst in the process of a tackle on Berrick Barnes, there was principle contact with the chest but also with the neck such as to make the tackle dangerous in contravention of Law 10.4 (e),” he said in a media statement.
“Mr Cooper’s record is unblemished save for a two-week suspension in 2010. He has played Super Rugby for the past six years as well as a significant number of Test Matches for Australia during this time.
“It is also a matter of significance that the SANZAR Rules allow consideration be given to the importance of games to be played during the Super Rugby Finals Series and as such, this has been taken into account as a mitigating circumstance.
“It follows that Quade Cooper is suspended from all forms of Rugby for one week up to and including the 21st of July 2012.”
The hearing commenced at 2pm local and a decision was handed down after almost five hours.
Cooper spoke to the media after the hearing and said he trusts his teammates to get the job done against the Sharks.
“It was something I certainly didn’t want to hear, I was looking forward to playing the Qualifying Final this weekend,” Cooper said.
“I’m pretty disappointed but I have total faith in my teammates and our game plan and believe they’ll get the job done.”
To secure Saturday’s Qualifying Final the Reds were forced to overcome a horror midseason injury toll before hitting their straps to win their final six games of the regular season.
Cooper was kept on the sidelines until round 13 while recovering from a knee injury.
During that time, the Reds recorded three victories to open the season, and after a disappointing trip to Africa returned to the winners circle by defeating the Brumbies, Blues, then competition-leading Chiefs before the No.10 made his comeback against the Lions at Suncorp Stadium.
The Reds finished with the third-best ranked win record which also includes seven wins from eight matches against Australian Conference rivals.
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