Melbourne – Flyhalf Quade Cooper said he was “hurting” about his decision to opt out of Australia’s season-ending tour of Japan, while center Samu Kerevi told critics not to question his love for the Wallabies as the pair came under fire from fans on Friday.
Cooper, Kerevi and fellow Japan-based loose forward Sean McMahon all chose club over country, forcing Wallabies coach Dave Rennie to tear up his selection plans ahead of tests against Scotland, England and Wales.
The three were eligible to play for Australia during November’s international window which falls during their clubs’ offseason.
“My growth as a man is being able to admit I’m hurt,” Cooper, 33, wrote on social media. “It hurts that I won’t be on tour to Europe with my teammates, especially after experiencing so much growth and overcoming challenges each week.
“I’m hurt that I couldn’t please everyone and keep both my employer and country happy.”
Rennie was reluctant to criticize the players during a news conference on Thursday, but would not confirm he would consider selecting them in future.
Cooper and Kerevi were instrumental in the Wallabies’ recent resurgence, which included back-to-back defeats of world champion South Africa in a five-test winning streak.
Kerevi said he cherished his time in the Wallabies jersey and was mindful he may have played his last test.
“That time may be now and if it is I will forever be grateful to have had played a part in the Wallaby journey,” the 28-year-old wrote on social media.
“One thing, don’t ever question my love for it!”
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