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Quade Cooper

AustraliaWallabies backrower Matt Hodgson will be given the honour of captaining Australia in Saturday’s opening match of the 2014 Spring Tour against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

New head coach Michael Cheika has given Hodgson the responsibility of leading a team which boasts 495 Test caps in the starting line-up, and which also includes four players who will wear the green and gold jersey for the first time in 2014.

The clash against the Barbarians is an uncapped international, although will see playmakers Quade Cooper and Will Genia, winger Henry Speight and backrower Sean McMahon receive their first opportunities for Australia this year.

An extended nine-man bench has also been named for the clash with one player to be omitted following Thursday afternoon’s training session in London.

Cheika said the team was looking forward to the opportunity on Saturday.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Mercurial flyhalf Quade Cooper was among the reserves named on Tuesday for the embattled Wallabies with Adam Ashley-Cooper chosen for his 100th Test against the All Blacks in this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup clash.

Under-fire coach Ewen McKenzie made two changes to his starting line-up with Christian Leali’ifano at inside centre and Rob Simmons returning at lock for a team that lost 21-17 to Argentina on 3 October.

Leali’ifano replaces the injured Matt Toomua while Simmons displaces James Horwill from the beaten side in Mendoza.

Cooper has not played for Australia this year after suffering a shoulder injury in May, when he lost his place to Bernard Foley.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper is set to make his return to Test rugby after being named in the Wallabies’ 32-man squad for next week’s third Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium.

Cooper suffered a serious shoulder injury back in May but has shown good form in the NRC tournament for Brisbane City.

The talented five-eighth is likely to come off the bench with Bernard Foley to start, however Cooper’s return for the clash at Suncorp Stadium on October 18 is timely given the suspension of Kurtley Beale and injuries to several other inside backs.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Injured Queensland Reds and Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper sat down with Chris Garry last week to discuss a dramatic year for his code and club.

Cooper reveals how he helped lure the brightest talent in world rugby, Taniela “Tongan Thor” Tupou, from the clutches of the All Blacks to the Reds, why Queensland should have hit the player market hard following their Super Rugby triumph in 2011, when he will return from injury … and predicts Karmichael Hunt will make the Wallabies’ World Cup squad.

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Quade CooperQuade Cooper’s remarkable return could culminate with him becoming the next Wallaby captain after Ben Mowen’s shock decision to quit Australian rugby.

Mowen on Thursday announced that he’ll join the French exodus at the end of the year, seemingly leaving vice-captain Cooper next in line to lead Australia.

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