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Queensland Reds and Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper played a starring role to deliver Souths a 50-27 win over the struggling Gold Coast in round 14 of Queensland Premier Rugby.
Magpies fans turned out in force at Chipsy Wood Oval to see Cooper make his 2012 debut for his senior club and he didn’t disappoint with a helping hand in South’s eight tries.
“A lot of people turned out today and I really wanted to put on a good spectacle for them,” Cooper said.
“We obviously wanted to get the win but it was also about showing them (the fans) what grassroots footy is all about, having fun with mates.”
It was a scratchy start from the Wallaby superstar but after the Breakers posted the first try of the afternoon Cooper began to find his range with both his passes and off the boot.
The try of the afternoon belonged to hat-trick hero Dominic Lespierre who finished off a length of the field try after Cooper made a line break before a trademark no look pass to his outside saw the winger go over untouched.
“It was a lot of fun out there and a real buzz to play outside someone with Super Rugby and international experience,” Lespierre said.
Souths posted 33 unanswered points in a dominant middle period of the game which saw them secure the four-try bonus point before half time.
“It’s a step forward, we got the five point victory and that’s what we need heading towards the end of the season,” Souths coach Ken Wills said.
Breakers captain and scrumhalf Vitori Tomu Buatava said it was steep learning curve for his side playing against one the most deadly attacking weapons in the game.
“If you give him space he’ll put the points on the board,” he said.
“If you don’t get back the ten metres on free kicks he’ll tap and go and when you have finishers on the outside it’s a long day at the office.”
Gold Coast coach Rob Nowlan said he was proud of his team’s performance, especially given the quality of their opposition.
“I told them to test themselves and have a crack at him (Cooper),” said Nowlan.
“They did well; they’re a young group who are coming good.”
With four games left before the finals, Souths coach Ken Wills isn’t getting carried away with his sides form just yet.
“We can’t afford to lose any more games and we have to hope that some other results go our way,” Willis said about his side’s finals hopes.
“If we don’t make it to the finals we can’t blame anyone but ourselves, we’ve already let a few games slip this season.”
Souths 50 (Dominic Lespierre 3, Tom Armstrong 2, Tom Linde, Ged O’Hare, Josh Eden-Whaitiri tries; Quade Cooper 5 cons) def Gold Coast 27 (Nick Turner, Hayden Julius, Rubin Fuimaono, Matthew Galo tries; Cayden Matehaere 2 cons, 1 pen)
By Martin Cambridge
19 MAY 2013
17 MAY 2013