Truth about Quade Cooper's match-winning heroics for Wallabies

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Wallabies duo Reece Hodge and Quade Cooper celebrate after Cooper's match-winning penalty against South Africa.
Reece Hodge and Quade Cooper celebrate after Cooper's match-winning penalty goal steered the Wallabies to victory over South Africa. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

A government official last month declared that, in certain circumstances, Australian citizenship can be granted if a person "is engaged in activities that are of benefit to Australia".

We reckon Quade Cooper ticked that box when he knocked over the winning penalty goal in the Wallabies' late-as-they-come 28-26 victory over South Africa in Sunday night's Rugby Championship encounter.

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Kiwi-born Cooper is chasing Australian citizenship after living most of his life here, but he can have the prime ministership if he wants after finally giving the locals something to smile about.

This was a win Australian rugby badly needed – if only to reinforce the belief the side is heading in the right direction, albeit slowly, after suffering three consecutive beatings at the hands of the All Blacks.

If winning builds self-confidence, what does winning a close game against the defending world champions when you're behind at the fulltime siren do?

That we had to rely on a 33-year-old player recalled after four years can be looked at one of two ways.

It's either a sad indictment on the Wallabies' lack of depth or an acknowledgment that you pick the best players for the job regardless of age, outside noise or their Wikipedia page of previous misdemeanours.

I've got a mate who goes crazy when he reads the words "Wallabies building towards the next World Cup".

His argument – and it's a sound one – is every Test is important and you pick your best XV every time.

Coach Dave Rennie acknowledged Cooper's selection was one for the right here, right now.

"It's based on what's he done. He and I had a good chat prior to him coming in and talked about the importance of the role he might play among these young men," Rennie said.

"I've been really impressed with him. He's matured and his contribution's been huge, even when he's missed selection.

"It's great to see him out there performing. His confidence and experience made a difference."

Cooper proves his mettle in mature performance against South Africa

While Cooper's winning penalty – and his post-match love-in with personal sensei SBW – naturally dominated the headlines, this performance was based on more than one kick.

The veteran fly-half's Zen-like composure seemed to have a calming effect on the rest of his team and we saw little of the brainsnap moments we witnessed in the Bledisloe Cup carve up, save for Folau Fainga’a's unnecessary yellow card (look Mum, no hands).

Cooper's trusty boot (seven from seven) kept scoreboard pressure on the Springboks, who predictably showed a reluctance to run the ball and relied on their powerful forward pack to grind out a result.

The Wallabies were elated after Quade Cooper's penalty goal earned them a 28-26 win over South Africa. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
The Wallabies were elated after Quade Cooper's penalty goal earned them a 28-26 win over South Africa. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

It looked like working before Nic White engineered a scrum penalty at the death and Mr Cool worked his magic from the kicking tee, ignoring the difficult angle and the pressure.

No-one deserved this victory more than indefatigable skipper Michael Hooper, who equalled George Gregan's record for most games (59) in charge.

He has long promised of better days ahead for the Wallabies and maybe, just maybe, this performance might convince a few non-believers.

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