20 May 2013

McKenzie takes Deans to task over Cooper's ommission

3:34 pm on 20 May 2013

The Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie has taken Australia rugby coach Robbie Deans to task over leaving Quade Cooper out of Wallabies squad to play the British and Irish Lions.

McKenzie insists Cooper's no more of a defensive concern than first choice first five-eight James O'Connor.

McKenzie wants to know why Deans is only now demanding Cooper defend in the front line rather than dropping to fullback for the Queensland Reds, to have any hope of featuring in the Lions series.

Deans delivered the ultimatum to Cooper after opting for O'Connor as his first-choice first five and omitting Cooper from his initial 25-man squad for the Lions series in June and July.

Deans will add a further six players next month and insists Cooper could still make it depending on how he plays for the Reds against the Lions.

McKenzie, though, says it's unfair for Deans to only now place such demands on Cooper, who's seemingly still paying the price for criticising the Wallabies' culture last year in an outburst that led to a $75,000 fine and three-match suspension.

McKenzie also questioned O'Connor's defensive abilities.