Thu 05 April 2012
Adam wears Bassike T shirt and jeans
Wearing Bassike T shirt and denim jacket, and his own watch.
GAME THEORY: Adam Ashley Cooper has a presence you don’t often find in a 28 year old football player- he oozes style and effortless confidence- balancing perfectly with his signature down to earth attitude. Now only a few rounds into the Super Rugby series, facing volumes of media attention, I sat down with the codes coolest player to explore his sport. Photography by Pat Supsiri
FRS: How did you wind up playing professional rugby? What triggered your spot on the Wallabies squad?
AAC: Football is something I’ve always loved since the age of 6. I only started to take rugby seriously at the age of 17 when I began playing junior state representative football. From there I moved my rugby to Sydney to coincide with my university studies with the aim of becoming a professional rugby player. Not long after I was offered my first official full-time rugby contract with the Brumbies in Canberra. I grabbed at the opportunity and headed south at the age of 19- I have and never looked back.
FRS: With Super 15 season underway… How do you feel your team will perform?
AAC: With a few narrow losses, the Waratahs have had a slow start to the season- yet we have a talented squad with a good mix of experience and youth. There is belief amongst the team and it’s important we put the dissapointing start behind us, remain positive and improve the areas that have let us down in previous weeks. At this point in the competition as points become crucial for final spots, there is no room for failure.
FRS: What is motivating you?
AAC: I have had the fortune of starting my career all over again. I spent 8 years with the Brumbies in Canberra and most recently signed with the Waratahs for the 2012 season. The move has brought new challenges, lifestyle and routine change- yet bonding with new team mates has been a rush of self motivation and definitely rejuvenated my game.
FRS: Do you see yourself as a captain?
AAC: Not currently- Captain isn’t something that I’ve set my goals on yet. We have a strong and experienced leadership at the Waratahs who pride themselves on leading through action over speech- I do consider myself to be a player with emphasis on leading by example.
FRS: The lowest moment in your career? How did you handle the disappointment of the World Cup loss? Do you ever find it hard to keep moving forward?
AAC: I have had many lows over my career, none more upsetting than the losses in the 2007 & 2011 Rugby World Cup’s.
In 2007 we lost to the English in a quarter final in France (which no one was expecting) and from all an individual perspective I took it extremely personally. It took me weeks to shake the disappointment of the loss (and individual performance)- I don’t think that feeling will ever go away, but I now try and use it as a motivation in big games.
In 2011 we were defeated by New Zealand in the semi final in Auckland- loosing to the Kiwis is never pleasing. The build up to this campaign and the form leading into the tournament was electric- there was a lot of buzz built from the Australian public and the thousands of people that ventured over to support us. We let ourselves down losing that game, but also all of the Australians that were behind us.
I feel it is these tough times that only motivate you more to achieve greater results.
FRS: In your mind, who is the best player in the game right now?
AAC: It’s very hard to look past the likes of Dan Carter and Riche McCaw of New Zealand, David Pocock of Australia and Thierry Dusautoir of France who claimed 2011 international player of the year. Drew Mitchell when available is also one of the most dangerous attacking backs in world rugby.
FRS: Who inspires your game? Who is your biggest motivator in terms of competition?
AAC: During the competition, it’s always hard to remain motivated. Seasons become more and more physically demanding and emotionally exhausting. It’s always important to draw inspiration and motivation from the people important to you. Mine include, family, friends, team mates and mentors. For me, I enjoy competing, so being challenged by team mates week to week through training, feedback and banter keeps me on my toes and wanting to better myself. At the end of the day, it’s them who you play for!
FRS: The toughest team you have ever faced?
AAC: The New Zealand team. The kiwi’s are full of tradition, passion and genuine heat. There is no tougher test than facing these blokes. There is also no sweeter feeling than beating the boys in black!
FRS: What are you working on right now aside from rugby? Do you find having interests outside the game keep you balanced?
AAC: You could say I have my fingers in a few pies, the most exciting project off the field is my passion for tea. I’m currently in the process of developing my own tea, Boutea. We are still waiting on final samples but I’m really enjoying being involved in every stage of the process. Watch this space. That aside, I also work on a number of community projects with the Waratahs, supporting kids rugby- which is fantastic.
FRS: What are you looking for when your playing career comes to an end? Where do you see yourself?
AAC: When the time comes there are plenty of avenues I’d love to explore- I love the idea of new opportunities. In addition to Boutea, I’m sure there will be dabbles in property, cafes, pubs, gyms and Bondi Rescue…
Wearing Bassike woollen over coat, T shirt and track pants.