Rugby Championship News

Cheika wants Cooper back in Australia




Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has revealed that he has been trying to get former Australia play maker Quade Cooper back from France.

Cooper left Australian Rugby after the Rugby World Cup and playing in France for Toulon whilst also attempting to break into the Australian Sevens Olympics team.

The twenty-eight-year-old’s Olympic bid failed and since then there have been rumours of a player exchange with Toulon between the Reds with Ayumu Goromaru and Cooper.

Goromaru announced earlier this week that he had joined Toulon but news on Cooper’s playing future has been quiet.

Cooper has played 58 tests for the Wallabies which is two short of the “Giteau Rule” that would allow him to be selected from overseas.

When asked whether he would be interested in having Cooper playing Australia again Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said that he has been trying to get the play maker back from France.

“I’ve been doing more than endorsing it… I’ve been out there trying to get him back. I think for many years, players left Australia and we just said ‘you’re gone now. See you later’,” Cheika told Fairfax Media

“I’ve played myself overseas, so I know how good the experience is. You haven’t betrayed the country by going over and having that experience. Let’s tell them how much we want them back.

“When I went over on a recent trip, I think I saw 20-odd players at different levels, just to say ‘this is what’s happening back home, come on back, let’s see what we can do’. If we can even get two or three of those, it makes a difference.”

Queensland Rugby executive general manager Daniel Herbert also said that the Reds want Cooper back and that the play maker would be a great part of a Reds team that is being re-built.

“There’s always room for quality, isn’t there? There’s room (for Cooper). The desire is there. We don’t like to comment until things have solidified but yes, there’s room,” Herbert said.

“I’m an unashamed fan of Quade and have been for a long time. He gets unfairly tarnished at times. He’s done a lot for Queensland rugby and he’s played more than 100 games. If he wanted to come back, we’d welcome him.”

For the meantime Cheika is comfortable with Bernard Foley in the Wallaby number 10 jumper but an injury before the Rugby Championship or even in the June Internationals could add pressure to get Cooper home.

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