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Cooper confident in improving Wallabies

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Sportal.co.nz     21 Oct 2013     Getty Images

The early signs under the former Queensland Reds coach weren't promising. A 29-47 loss to New Zealand at Sydney's ANZ Stadium in their tournament opener was followed by a 12-38 loss to South Africa at Suncorp two rounds later.

But their improvement throughout the four-team competition saw them register 87 points in their last two matches against Argentina (54-17) and New Zealand (33-41) over the last three weeks.

Speaking to reporters following the match, Cooper said he felt that he, and the team, were moving forward and praised the character of his teammates, who continued to give it their all until a mistake finally arrived in the 83rd minute.

"At the start of the Rugby Championship we were trying to find our feet as a team. We knew where we wanted to go but it was about trying to see what was working for us," said Cooper.

"As a team we're heading in the right direction and the more good games put together, on a personal note, the better the performance as a team."

Cooper said there was a noted improvement on their two-match tour to Argentina and South Africa, where players were forced to live with each other and grow as a team. With a six-week tour to the Northern Hemisphere imminent and a chance at a grand slam, Cooper was excited about how far his team could develop while living together.

"You're put in a position where you're living together basically. Six weeks away as a team you get to know each other on and off the field, you get to see peoples' habits, their traits, things that you may not necessarily like about the players but you have to work hard and the things you like, you build on those.

"You work off the field then when you come to training we all work as hard as we can to get that end result which is a world class team."

While genuinely upbeat about his side's improvements on attack, the Tokoroa-born first five-eighths noted they still weren't good enough to beat the Bledisloe Cup champions. Turnovers, the Achilles heel of the Australian side, still had a lot of work to be done.

Cooper, as usual, found a silver lining to the coach-killing errors.

"I think the positive thing is that we are making more positive errors rather than just silly errors where it's us just not focusing or not trying to attack the line. The moment we cut those errors out I'm sure we'll be in a great position to put the pressure on a lot of teams."