Wallabies upheaval: 'Torn' Cooper follows Kerevi's lead

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How much will the Wallabies feel the loss of Kerevi? (1:08)

Sam Bruce and Christy Doran discuss the impact of the Wallabies being without hard-charging centre Samu Kerevi. (1:08)

The Wallabies' week has officially gone from bad to worse, with coach Dave Rennie confirming that a "torn" Quade Cooper has indeed withdrawn from the rest of the team's spring tour.

Australia's planning for their three-Test tour of the U.K. has been completely turned on its head as a result, after Cooper followed Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon in standing down, the trio not wanting to go against the wishes of their Japanese clubs.

Kurtley Beale will answer an SOS and join the squad alongside the other three European-based players named earlier this month -- Will Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu -- while Rennie confirmed Brumbies fly-half Noah Lolesio would now also link with the team.

While the Wallabies don't face Scotland until Sunday week, the events of the last few days have become a huge disruption on and off the field and, on the back of Reece Hodge's tour-ending injury, they have left the team undermanned.

"He obviously wanted the blessing of the club [Kintetsu]," Rennie said of Cooper. "We talked about maybe some flexibility about the tour dates, but in the end I think he felt that he needed to be there supporting his club, his employer, about to head into their season... he's a good man, he's contributed massively on and off the field.

"But he's torn, he wants to be here. He wants to be a Wallaby but he feels loyalty to his club, and in the end he's made a decision he thinks he feels like he's made a decision that is best for him. So we've accepted that, and we've moved on."

Asked whether a greater level of honesty could have been shown from the players earlier in the piece, so that a situation like the one that has unfolded this week didn't eventuate, Rennie unsurprisingly opted not to hang the trio out to dry.

"I guess there's a bit of crystal ball gazing there, all I'll say is I spoke to all those boys when we were in the Gold Coast, they said they had concerns around their club and how their club would feel about them travelling in November close to the start of their season," the Wallabies coach explained.

"But they assured me they were keen to travel, and so for that reason we got into negotiation with their clubs. They weren't happy to be [taken under Regulation 9], to tell the clubs that we were taking them, hence the reason why we had multiple Zoom meetings to try and sort through the problem, and it took a bit of flexibility on both parties. But in the end, well you've seen the results.

"Our focus now is on who's here, who's not."

Clearly upset by the situation, Cooper took to Instagram later on Thursday to express his gratitude for having had the chance to pull on the Wallabies jersey once again.

"My growth as a man is being able to admit I'm hurt," he wrote. "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 am so thankful to everyone for allowing me to play for Australia again."

Rennie wouldn't be drawn into whether the Japanese clubs [Suntory and Kintetsu] had told Wallabies officials one thing, and then influenced their players into making a different decision - ultimately that they wouldn't tour.

"All I'll say is that the players felt that the clubs wanted them to be there, that it was an important period," he said. "Their experience with a group that they've got heading into their preseason and so the players felt compelled to stay."

Cooper's withdrawal means James O'Connor will almost certainly slot into the No. 10 jersey for his first Test start of the year at Murrayfield on Sunday week. It's likely O'Connor would have been given a start at fly-half at some point on tour even if Cooper had traveled, with that now expedited following his decision to remain in Japan.

"He's had a bit more footy than Quade had when he played his first Test [of the year], so he's ready to go," Rennie said of O'Connor.

"We trained yesterday and he looked really good, he's running quicker than he has the last two years; so he's worked really hard to get his body right and he's a good thinker of the game, he's really smart. It was good having in the middle yesterday driving things."

Just what lasting effects Cooper's withdrawal, and the decisions of both Kerevi and McMahon, might have on Rugby Australia's thinking on overseas eligibility are likely to play out once the Wallabies return home late next month.

But with the benefit of hindsight, Rennie said the entire situation could have been better handled.

"I guess when we first brought these boys back in when we were in Australia, my thought process was that they would be available for all [Regulation 9] Tests," he said. We weren't sure about Japan, assumed they'd be available for these three [Scotland, England, Wales] but probably what it highlights is that discussing that sort of stuff with the club early on would have been important.

"But look in the end, we spent a lot time doing that. And as I said, I think 12 months ago they [Japanese clubs] weren't thinking that these guys they've got in their team, former internationals, would be unavailable due to Test footy.

"I'm not sure if we'd do things drastically differently, but certainly my mindset was that the players were keen to play but they wanted the support of the club."