Queensland playmaker Quade Cooper does not believe the Reds are the Super Rugby bad boys despite being the most penalised team in the competition.
They may be the most penalised team in the competition but the Queensland Reds don’t believe they are the “bad boys” of Super Rugby.
Reds playmaker Quade Cooper admits he has been bewildered by some referees’ calls but says the 2011 champions are maintaining a positive approach as they look to turn their season around against the Stormers at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Queensland are still privately fuming over South African referee Stuart Berry’s influence in their 23-20 loss to the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday morning (AEDT) when the Reds’ 20-3 lead evaporated under a 17-4 penalty count.
Asked if he felt the Reds were the Super Rugby “bad boys”, Cooper said: “It looks that way at the moment.
“When you are penalised so much it is detrimental to your game so we have to fix that up.
“But the attitude of the boys is the most important thing. We continue to be positive and to work hard.
“Once we get on the field we can’t be whingeing.”
But Cooper admitted he was “bewildered” by some penalties and hinted most of the crowd would be too.
“As a No.10 I am thinking that anyway because most of the penalties are when there is a scrum or a lineout,” he said.
“I am not too privy to the majority of the technicalities of it, just like everybody else sitting in the crowd.
“(But) there is nothing to get frustrated about when you know the team is making every effort to win the game.”
Cooper would not entertain the notion that they now had a target on their heads in the referee’s eyes.
“That’s a question for the referees,” he said.
“We are not going to worry about referees’ opinions of the team or ways they might find to penalise us, that’s not how we are approaching each game.”
Meanwhile, Cooper said they were not panicking after their South African leg reduced them to a 2-3 season start.
Apart from their frustrating results, the Reds have been hit by injuries to flanker Liam Gill (hamstring), fullback Aidan Toua (pectoral muscle) and centre Chris Feauai-Sautia (hamstring).
Rookie Jamie-Jerry Taulagi is set to provide some backline punch against the Stormers – the first of three home games for the Reds – while Cooper believed Beau Robinson would slot effortlessly into Gill’s starting role.
“Gilly is a massive loss. But when you have someone like Beau coming in …you don’t lose anything in attitude,” he said.