Cooper out, but Reds' blues is good news for Sharks
The Sharks arrived in Brisbane yesterday to the news that Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper had received a one-match ban and will miss Saturday's semifinal play-off as a result.
It was a boost for the Durban side after they travelled without star centre Frans Steyn and Bok fullback Pat Lambie for the clash at the Suncorp Stadium.
Lambie was ruled out due to an ankle injury, while Steyn is ineligible for the match as he only joined the Sharks last month.
So any help John Plumtree's side will receive is welcome, and Cooper's suspension for a dangerous tackle on the Waratahs' Berrick Barnes last Saturday will go some way to aiding the Sharks.
Cooper was devastated by the news.
"It's something I didn't want to hear," Cooper said after a 4½-hour disciplinary hearing. "I felt we had a very strong case.
"It (the tackle on Barnes) wasn't anything intentional or malicious."
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie remained upbeat.
"There's no doubt Quade makes a difference for us," McKenzie said. "But Quade has played three games this season and we've won 11 and we're in the finals."
Ben Lucas is likely to start at flyhalf.