More Wallabies upheaval as ‘torn’ Quade Cooper withdraws, Noah Lolesio brought

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The Wallabies’ week has officially gone from bad to worse, with coach Dave Rennie confirming that a “torn” Quade Cooper has indeed withdrawn from the rest of the team’s spring tour.

Australia’s planning for their three-Test tour of the U.K. has been completely turned on its head as a result, after Cooper followed Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon in standing down, the trio not wanting to go against the wishes of their Japanese clubs.

Kurtley Beale will answer an SOS and join the squad alongside the other three European-based players named earlier this month — Will Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu — while Rennie confirmed Brumbies fly-half Noah Lolesio would now also link with the team.

While the Wallabies don’t face Scotland until Sunday week, the events of the last few days have become a huge disruption on and off the field and, on the back of Reece Hodge’s tour-ending injury, they have left the team undermanned.

“He obviously wanted the blessing of the club [Kintetsu],” Rennie said of Cooper. “We talked about maybe some flexibility about the tour dates, but in the end I think he felt that he needed to be there supporting his club, his employer, about to head into their season… he’s a good man, he’s contributed massively on and off the field.

“But he’s torn, he wants to be here. He wants to be a Wallaby but he feels loyalty to his club, and in the end he’s made a decision he thinks he feels like he’s made a decision that is best for him. So we’ve accepted that, and we’ve moved on.”

Asked whether a greater level of honesty could have been shown from the players earlier in the piece, so that a situation like the one that has unfolded this week didn’t eventuate, Rennie unsurprisingly opted not to hang the trio out to dry.

“I guess there’s a bit of crystal ball gazing there, all I’ll say is I spoke to all those boys when we were in the Gold Coast, they said they had concerns around their club and how their club would feel about them travelling in November close to the start of their season,” the Wallabies coach explained.

“But they assured me they were keen to travel, and so for that reason we got into negotiation with their clubs. They weren’t happy to be [taken under Regulation 9], to tell the clubs that we were taking them, hence the reason why we had multiple Zoom meetings to try and sort through the problem, and it took a bit of flexibility on both parties. But in the end, well you’ve seen the results.

“Our focus now is on who’s here, who’s not.”

Rennie also wouldn’t be drawn into whether the Japanese clubs [Suntory and Kintetsu] had told Wallabies officials one thing, and then influenced their players into making a different decision – ultimately that they wouldn’t tour.

Read More: More Wallabies upheaval as ‘torn’ Quade Cooper withdraws, Noah Lolesio brought 2021-10-28 07:52:17

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