Quade Cooper redeems himself in front of Wallabies coach Deans
Fly-half Quade Cooper overcame an early nightmare to score the decisive points as the Queensland Reds came from behind to beat the Melbourne Rebels 33-20 in a frenetic Super 15 contest in Brisbane yesterday.
Cooper, on notice from watching Australia coach Robbie Deans that he was auditioning for a place in the Wallabies squad to face the British and Irish Lions, had two defensive kicks charged down for Rebels tries in six first-half minutes.
With his team 20-18 down with 15 minutes to go, however, Cooper recovered his kicking touch to convert a penalty and four minutes later wriggled over the line for a try that gave the Reds a 28-20 lead that they would never relinquish.
Earlier, the Otago Highlanders put a miserable season behind them with a swashbuckling first-half display on their way to a 38-28 victory over Auckland Blues in Dunedin. Fullback Ben Smith crossed twice on his 27th birthday.
Both sides grabbed bonus points in the eight-try match.