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Cooper eager for more NSW misery

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Sportal.co.nz     12 Jul 2012     Getty Images

The Reds must defeat the 'Tahs to maintain any chance of sneaking into the playoffs and defending their title, while at the other end of the spectrum, the Waratahs are staring at potentially their worst ever Super Rugby finish as they languish in 11th with just four wins in 2012.

Cooper acknowledged that the Waratahs would be desperate to end Queensland's title defence and vowed to show no mercy to Michael Foley's men.

"There is massive motivation for the Waratahs to knock us off - they'd love nothing more," Cooper said.

"Any game of New South Wales versus Queensland is always a grudge match no matter what sport it is.

"But there is also plenty of motivation for us, apart from making the playoffs we can continue to push their season to the worst that it can get."

With plenty of big-match credits on his rugby resume, Cooper is firing for the Reds' final roll of the dice in 2012 and will be seeking to have his team-mates fired up too.

Digby Ioane will return from a fortnight-long absence due to pneumonia, while forwards Rob Simmons (cork), Beau Robinson (ankle) and Liam Gill (hamstring) are all battling to be fit for the season-defining match.

"I like to hope that the whole team likes this kind of challenge," Cooper said when asked of the mental state of his team-mates.

"It's a massive game that each and every player grows up dreaming of. There is a lot on the line and who could have written it better than taking on New South Wales in this situation."

The Reds' slim playoff hopes would increase dramatically with a bonus-point win over the Waratahs and Cooper's form in recent weeks suggests that the attacking prowess of the 2011 Reds isn't far away.

Cooper will be looking to steer his team into a winning position first, before breaking the shackles in search of four five-pointers.

"The philosophy of rugby for me is about going out there and having fun and playing well and making sure we get the win - success is something that drives me - but at the back of the mind will be the four tries," he said.

"If we get our game right the tries will come. We could score eight tries, 10 tries, who knows? But we just need to start well and stick to the game plan."