Rugby – ‘I’m not going anywhere,’ says dumped Cooper

Image: Rugby Union – Australia Wallabies vs Barbarians – Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney, Australia, October 28, 2017. Quade Cooper of the Barbarians talks with the team’s head coach Alan Jones. REUTERS/David Gray

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Dumped Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper is not interested in pursuing a club career abroad and says there might still be an opportunity for him to return to the Queensland Reds and later force his way into national coach Michael Cheika’s squad.

Cooper was told last year by new Reds coach Brad Thorn that he was not in his plans for Super Rugby, not required at training and the side would not stand in his way if he was offered a contract with another team.

However Cooper, who had a short stint in France following the 2015 Rugby World Cup before coming back to Australia, said on Wednesday he was not interested in heading offshore again.

The 29-year-old is contracted with both the Reds and Rugby Australia until 2019 and being paid a reported A$700,000 (£384,567) a season.

“I signed a three-year contract. When you sign a three-year contract, that’s showing your cards,” the New Zealand-born Cooper told reporters in Brisbane on Wednesday.

“I want to be here for three years and enjoy my time here. The rest will look after itself.

“If the opportunity arises to one day represent the Reds and the Wallabies again, then so be it.”

Cooper added that he had been in touch with Cheika, who has said he would like the 70-test veteran to be playing at a level that would keep him in the selection frame.

Cheika also dropped him last year.

The flyhalf said just getting back onto the field was the first step he needed to take if he wanted to try to rejoin the higher echelons of rugby.

“If there wasn’t a pathway, why would you have all these kids lining up to play colts, Premier Rugby and aspire to represent your country at some stage,” Cooper said.

“It’s definitely a platform and it has to be used that way.

“I’m very happy where I am … I’ve got a great opportunity to represent this great club, hopefully go out there and win a title for Souths and work hard.”

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Copyright 2018 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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