Quade Cooper is held up to an unfair standard compared to other Wallabies halfbacks and should be cut some slack, captain Stephen Moore says.
The eyes of the rugby world will be fixated on Cooper when he lines up at five-eighth on Saturday night in the Bledisloe Cup decider against New Zealand.
It has been billed as a sink-or-swim occasion for the 27-year-old, whose career to date has been punctuated by intoxicating highs and a few dreary, forgettable lows.
But it is because of Cooper’s flashy style of play that even a standard performance from him is harshly judged by his plentiful critics as below-par, according to Moore.
“Sometimes people think with Quade that he’s got to go out there and create something or win the game on his own,” Moore said.
“It’s not the case. Everyone in this team has a job and they’ve got to do that really well.
“Some of the things he was doing for Queensland … those kind of things are freakish. Of course you’re going to get those things with players like that.
“At the core of it, is he goes out there and does his job well.”
Cooper wasn’t included in the squad that beat the All Blacks in Sydney last weekend, but has come into the side as one of six changes made by coach Michael Cheika.
He is joined in the halves by Nic White, who provided Australia with a match-winning cameo when he came on to replace fellow halfback Nick Phipps in the 27-19 win.
Phipps struggled against New Zealand, failing to adequately click with flyhalf Bernard Foley because of illegal interference from opposition players blocking his path to the ball.
The Wallabies have called for referee Nigel Owens to keep a close eye on the back of the ruck, but White said he is prepared for more of the same from the All Blacks should it come to it.
“Rugby’s been around a long time, that’s a tactic plenty of teams use. Everyone does it,” White said.
“There were a lot of bodies laying around, but there’re ways around that. I’ll sort that out.”