Rugby-Cooper, Kerevi defend Wallabies snub

  • Rugby
  • Friday, 29 Oct 2021

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Quarter Final - England v Australia - Oita Stadium, Oita, Japan - October 19, 2019 Australia's Samu Kerevi in action REUTERS/Edgar Su

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Flyhalf Quade Cooper said he was "hurting" about his decision to opt out of Australia's season-ending tour of Japan, while centre Samu Kerevi told critics not to question his love for the Wallabies as the pair came under fire from fans on Friday.

Cooper, Kerevi and fellow Japan-based loose forward Sean McMahon all chose club over country, forcing Wallabies coach Dave Rennie to tear up his selection plans ahead of tests against Scotland, England and Wales.

The three were entitled to play for Australia during November's international window which falls during their clubs' off-season.

"My growth as a man is being able to admit I'm hurt," Cooper, 33, wrote on social media. "It hurts that I won't be on tour to Europe with my team mates, especially after experiencing so much growth and overcoming challenges each week.

"I'm hurt that I couldn't please everyone and keep both my employer and country happy."

Rennie was reluctant to criticise the players during a media conference on Thursday but would not confirm he would consider selecting them in future.

Cooper and Kerevi were instrumental in the Wallabies' recent resurgence, which included back-to-back defeats of world champions South Africa in a five-test winning streak.

Kerevi said he cherished his time in the Wallabies jersey and was mindful he may have played his last test.

"That time may be now and if it is I will forever be grateful to have had played a part in the Wallaby journey," the 28-year-old wrote on social media.

"One thing, don't ever question my love for it!"

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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