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Quade Cooper and position of authority are words we couldn't have imagined in tandem a year ago when the fly-half was a pariah of Australian rugby under Robbie Dean.

Now he's vice-captain for the first autumn Test against England on Saturday, the deputy for new captain Ben Mowen who replaces James Horwill. 

Coach Ewen McKenzie took the captaincy from James Horwill so he can focus on his own game, but the more significant news is that of Cooper. 

McKenzie was on the front foot to those who are baffled by the choice to hand Cooper such seniority over the likes of Stephen Moore, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Ben Alexander, or axed former captain Will Genia.

"Everyone has acknowledged Quade has made massive strides in the last 12 months and this is another step toward recognition he does make a lot of decisions on the field," McKenzie said.

"I think Quade has demonstrated the totality of being a team member, and that's been a significant change."

For Saturday's clash, Matt Toomua will stay at inside centre in front of Christian Leali'ifano, while 'The Honey Badger' Nick Cummins is back on the wing after recovering from a broken hand. 


Wallabies: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Nick Cummins, Quade Cooper (vice-captain), Will Genia; Ben Mowen (captain), Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, James Horwill, Sitaleki Timani, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Res: Saia Fainga'a, Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas, Ben McCAlman, Nic White, Christian Leali'ifano, Bernard Foley.

Images via Getty


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Pariah fly-half Quade handed Wallabies vice-captaincy in remarkable turnaround - Mowen skipper ahead of Horwill for England Test
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