Two major injuries in Super Rugby pre season

The Queensland Reds and Canterbury Crusaders have been hit with major injury blows during pre season.

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During training yesterday, Quade Cooper went down with a fractured collarbone and will be sidelined for up to 12 weeks.

The Wallabies playmaker said he was gutted to be out of the early stages of the season but remained confident, stating he had come back from worse injuries before.

Depending on how the Reds go, Cooper’s return could tie in well with the Super Rugby playoffs.

Finalists in 2014, the Canterbury Crusaders have also suffered a major injury blow, after halfback Willi Heinz broke his leg during a trail game against the Otago Highlanders in Timaru today.

Heinz will be out for the entire Super Rugby season in 2015.

The Crusaders now face a big problem in the halfback position as Andy Ellis is unavailable for selection as he is currently playing club rugby in Japan.

James O’Connor returns to Australia

James O’Connor is back in Australia and will once again play Super Rugby in 2015 after a recent stint in Europe.

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The former Wallaby was embroiled in controversy upon leaving Australia after at incident at an airport at Perth back in 2013.

The incident involved airport staff after O’Conner was removed from the airport and barred from taking an international flight because he was intoxicated.

Many believed O’Connor’s Wallabies career was in doubt and the utility back shortly after shifted to France to play rugby for Toulon.

O’Conner has also played for the London Irish during his time away from Australia.

James O’Conner will join Quade Cooper at the Queensland Reds for the 2015 Super Rugby season and has already begun pre season training with the squad.

Off field professionalism is lacking in Wallabies side

The Kurtley Beale incident is just the latest in a long line of off field issues that have seriously hindered the Wallabies from being able to achieve their full potential on the field.

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No matter how good a player is, antics like the one during the flight to Brazil are unacceptable, it damages the reputation of the team, and is far from the standard level of professionalism that anyone would expect from a professional sportsmen such as Kurtley Beale.

The Wallabies have been a side that has choked in the biggest games on a yearly basis since 2005, barring the victory over the All Blacks in Brisbane which sent a warning to the rest of the rugby world just prior to the World Cup in 2011.

The actions of certain players off the field are contributing factors in the reasons why the Wallabies are not playing to their potential.

This side is not getting the positive results that they constantly set themselves up for.

The Wallabies get into viable positions on the scoreboard to win matches, only to completely implode in the final twenty minutes and lose. The Wallabies are brilliant at creating opportunities to score tries, but lack the execution, and some believe that this can be put down to key players getting too excited when panic sets in within 5 metres of the try line.

Off field related incidents have occurred with Kurtley Beale before.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported this morning that alcohol was not a direct factor in the Kurtley Beale incident where he became involved in a verbal altercation with a member of team management.

But alcohol issues have been an issue before.

According to the SMH, anyone and everyone in the Wallabies team are allowed to drink directly after a test match, no matter what the result.

Potentially, this current standard gives a mentality to the team that while it sucks to lose those big games, like the one this past weekend against the Springboks, the results don’t really matter too much at the end of the day.

It is also relevant to point out that many of these cases which has seen the Wallabies side embroiled into sudden controversy have involved players, Beale included, who’s selections in the starting line up are already questionable enough.

With Quade Cooper, a controversial man himself, set to re-enter the Wallabies side as soon as the All Blacks test in Brisbane, this Wallabies culture again needs some serious work done to it.

Quade Cooper returns to rugby this weekend

Quade Cooper may not be popular in New Zealand, but his return to rugby this weekend may lead to a Wallabies outing in the not too distant future against none other than the All Blacks.

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The controversial first five will take to the field for Brisbane City against Queensland Country in the Australian National Provincial Championship over the weekend, and admits he is ready for the contest.

Cooper hasn’t played rugby since May, and Wallabies coach Ewan McKenzie may not be happy to hear that Cooper has already been having his recently healed shoulder put to the test prior to medical clearance, something that won’t help the critics of Cooper loosen their stance much.

Rugby followers on this side of the ditch can say what they like, but Cooper’s return to rugby is something to watch.

The Wallabies selections at first five remain one of the big questions marks this season, and despite Foley’s obvious number one status at the moment, Quade Cooper will undoubtably be on the fringes of at least a bench spot come the October test against the All Blacks in Brisbane.