MENDOZA, ARGENTINA (Reuters) Australia fly-half Quade Cooper has apologised for lashing out at media criticism with an expletive-riddled post on his Twitter feed.
The polarising playmaker was criticised on social media after being sin-binned during the Wallabies' 34-9 win over Argentina in Mendoza in the abridged Rugby Championship on Saturday and duly rose to the bait.
"Invite me to you're (sic) next team discussion then ask me how much I give a **** about your team selection? Zero ****s given," he said in a post on Sunday, which was quickly deleted.
He later followed up with an apology. "Apologies for any offensive language used on my Twitter feed. I appreciate the support," he tweeted.
Cooper's outburst sparked speculation of disharmony within the Wallabies camp but the New Zealand-born 27-year-old said he had taken issue with something he had read. "As footballers, we're still human beings. We've got feelings," he told Australian media at the Wallabies' Mendoza hotel on Sunday.
"I bit back at a bit of criticism and I used some language that probably shouldn't have been used. There was some online criticism directed at me personally.
"I've never been one to read into media but this one time it caught my eye. I'm disappointed in myself for getting trapped in that. At the end of the day, it got to me this one time."
Fairfax Media suggested the target of Cooper's ire was a column by a New Zealand rugby writer who described him as "nutty" and a liability for Michael Cheika's Wallabies.
Australia will play the All Blacks in two weeks in Sydney, with the winner to clinch the Rugby Championship.
The Wallabies have not beaten the All Blacks since they last won the southern hemisphere championship in 2011, a similarly truncated tournament in the lead-up to the World Cup.
Though Cooper has his share of detractors in Australia, he comes in for especially harsh treatment in the country of his birth and has generally struggled in matches against the All Blacks.
Wallabies coach Cheika, who has also been known for losing his cool in public, sympathised and said Cooper would not face any sanction. "Obviously we can't have the language, that's a mistake. He's owned up to that.
"It's all about discipline and we're all trying to improve our discipline. "(There will be no further action) as far as I'm concerned... straight up. We can make decisions amongst ourselves. People make mistakes. I've certainly made a few in my time."