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Wallaby Ashley-Cooper out of Rugby Championship

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Wallabies veteran backliner Adam Ashley-Cooper will not appear again for Australia in the Rugby Championship and will return to France.

Ashley-Cooper returned to Australia from France as one of four European based players ahead of the Rugby Championship – Bledisloe Cup matches under the ‘Giteau Law’.

The back’s involvement in the Rugby Championship was always subject to him being released by his Top 14 club, Bordeaux.

However after the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington last week the thirty-two-year-old suggested that Bordeaux would not permit him to continue to play in the Rugby Championship as it does not fall into the Regulation Nine window which obliges clubs to release players for Test rugby.

Before the Rugby Championship began Bordeaux president Laurent Marti expressed his frustration at the Australian Rugby Union for having to release Ashley-Cooper as they had signed him before the ARU has implemented the “Giteau Law” which allows foreign based players with more than 60 Test caps to be called up for national duty.

“Yes, I’m annoyed,” Marti told Sud-Ouest at the time.

“Adam had told me that he would stop playing for the national side.”

“He had the power to say no to his coach and his federation … he should have told me when we were carrying out our negotiations.”

Ashley-Cooper started both Rugby Championship matches for the Wallabies against the All Blacks and his absence will most likely open the way for Luke Morahan or Reece Hodge to come into the starting line up against South Africa’s Springboks in Brisbane

Ashley-Cooper’s return to France with the injured Matt Giteau means that they are just two players in the Wallabies squad who did not play Super Rugby this year with halfback Will Genia and winger Drew Mitchell remaining in Australia.

Mitchell has yet to appear for the Wallabies as he is still returning to full fitness after undergoing a recent groin operation.

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