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Wallabies rally around 'weak link' Cooper

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James Mortimer     09 Aug 2012     Getty Images

The comment must not be taken out of context considering that Henry has remarked on more than one occassion that the victory over their trans-Tasman rivals was arguably his finest hour as a coach thanks to a relentless gameplan.

Targeting Cooper is no surprise, for not only is it considered an effective tactic to shut down a team's general, but the Wallabies have in the past stated that they openly mark the All Blacks navigators as prime targets.

'Get Carter' campaigns have been followed up by statements that Cruden could perhaps be a physical weak link, but of late rarely have the Wallabies successfully shut down the All Blacks playmaking options.

Henry, writing in his recently released biography The Final Word, said that the well known shift of Cooper in defence encapsulated a potential weak point in the Wallabies armoury.

"Coach Robbie Deans had taken him out of the front line (like the Reds), because he was a suspect tackler. He doesn't lack heart but defending is not his area of strength."

Henry went on further to suggest that this in turn forced the Wallabies to be disadvantaged by shifting their back three formation, leaving them prone to accurate attacking kicking.

"Quade Cooper was plainly the weakest link (in this regard)," he said.

The tactic of Cooper shifting back hasn't been a weakness in some arenas, with the shift of the fleet-footed playmaker to the open spaces at the back of the field wrecking havoc in Investec Super Rugby.

Drew Mitchell, who has played alongside Cooper in the Wallabies and in three-quarter formation when the Reds ten is shifted, and said that his team-mate had proven himself to the side.

"They're the ones you want to convince," he said.

"When times get tough you want to make sure the bloke you're playing next to knows you can do the job," he said.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans did not react to AAP when hearing about the statements.

"I haven't read his book," he said.

"Quade's in the squad, he's returning to the game, he's working hard at that. He's a bloke that's played fairly in the past and he will in the future."