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Illness couldn't stop Cooper

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Sportal.co.nz     25 Jul 2011     Getty Images

Cooper sent a scare through the Wallabies camp when he was unable to take his place in Friday's captain's run at St Joseph's college.

And while he says he would have played no matter what his condition, he revealed he initially feared the illness might cost him a Test cap.

"I wouldn't say I was a chance of missing, you're going to play a Test match every opportunity you get," Cooper said.

"I'm sure that no matter how sick you are you're going to get up for a Test match."

"I was a bit nervous, but I'm just glad that my body got back in shape and I was able to run around out there with my team-mates."

The 23-year-old appeared in perfect health on Saturday night as he bamboozled the Springboks with sublime footwork and ignited the Wallabies backline with his uncanny vision and slick passing game.

He had a hand in three of his side's five tries and was just pipped for man-of-the-match honours by half-back Will Genia, who also picked up where he left off during the Super Rugby season.

But Cooper was not getting too carried away after the win, declaring there is still significant improvement left in this Wallabies side.

"Rugby's never very much a perfect game so I'm very happy with the efforts of the boys and the way that everyone just kept backing up," he said.

"We could have scored a few more tries but also there were few that we did make – like that try that James O'Connor scored (early in the second half), that could have been a knock on but the skill that James showed there to scoop that ball up and score was just great skill."

Cooper added of his combination with full-back Kurtley Beale and right winger O'Connor, who also caused their fair share of havoc throughout.

"It's really good to be playing with those boys again," he said.

"The skill that they show, and we're great mates away from the field and I think that shows out on the field."

"The amount of time that we spend together gives us a good understanding of where each other are out on the field and we're just having fun."

The Wallabies will set up camp on the Gold Coast on Sunday in preparation for their August 6 clash against the All Blacks at Eden Park.