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SBW 'disappointed' with Cooper criticism

Former All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams supports injured Quade Cooper.

All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams passes the ball to his new team mates of Japanese rugby union team Panasonic Wild Knights in Tokyo on 1 September, 2012. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Former All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams on Tuesday lamented the injury that has ruled out close friend Quade Cooper from the rest of the Rugby Championship.

Speaking to Eyewitness News Sport from Japan where he is currently playing in the country's top domestic league for the Panasonic Wild Knights, he said the recent criticism directed towards the Wallabies fly-half has been unwarranted.

Cooper was on Tuesday ruled out of the team's remaining matches in the competition against the Springboks and Argentina and will require minor surgery for a knee injury.

That follows a lengthy recovery from another serious knee injury in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Wallabies struggled to victory over the Springboks in Perth a fortnight ago and were run even closer by Argentina on Saturday, eventually narrowly winning 23-19.

They also lost their opening two matches of the campaign to the All Blacks.

Williams said he does not think Cooper deserves the criticism that he has been getting.

"It's always tough coming back from those sorts of injuries, but people have been having a go at him for the last couple of weeks. It's pretty disappointing to see because I watched the game and didn't think it was that bad. I thought that he played pretty well actually, besides a couple of mistakes."

He added, however, that star players like Cooper are always open to the most criticism.

"When you're a player of that stature and you've got talent such as he does, then you're going to cop the gist of it. I'm very disappointed for him."