Cooper a thorn in Reds' side as Rebels go top, Blues beat Stormers
Quade Cooper returned to haunt the Reds as the Rebels moved top of the Super Rugby Australian Conference with a 32-13 victory at Suncorp Stadium and the in-form Blues beat the Stormers on Saturday.
Axed by Reds head coach Brad Thorn in 2017, Cooper did not feature in Super Rugby last season, but the fly-half has been given a new lease of life by the Rebels.
The playmaker set up two tries and scored 12 points from the tee to show Thorn what he is missing as the Rebels put back-to-back defeats to the Lions and the Sharks behind them.
Will Genia also enjoyed a glorious return to Brisbane, where Jack Maddocks rose to take a cross-field kick from Cooper and touch down just before half-time to give the Rebels a 11-6 lead.
Anaru Rangi crossed early in the second half and the boot of Cooper - who was on target with two first-half penalties - gave Maddocks the chance to claim a double.
Taniela Tupou's try five minutes from time came for too late for a Reds side that has only won twice this season and Cooper fittingly finished the contest by converting Robert Leota's score, which sealed a bonus point.
The Blues extended their winning streak to three matches with a 24-9 defeat of the Stormers at Eden Park.
Sonny Bill Williams made an impact off the bench in his return after taking time off to support the Muslim community in Christchurch following the terror attacks, laying on a try for Otere Black with a sublime offload.
Tanielu Tele'a scored the opening try and was sent off for tackling Dillyn Leyds in the air 10 minutes from time, with Rieko Ioane also scoring as the Blues moved up to third in the New Zealand Conference.