Australian flyhalf Quade Cooper reported for duty at European champions Toulon on Tuesday, having negotiated a special contract clause so he can play in the Olympics next year.
The 27-year-old flyhalf apologised to Toulon fans for the extended negotiations that even last week appeared compromised because of doubts about his international future.
“It has been a drawn-out process and I apologise for that,” Cooper told a press conference alongside Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal.
Australia’s selection rules only allow foreign-based players to be chosen if they have 60 caps. Cooper has 58 but made only 1 Rugby World Cup appearance because of the hot form of Bernard Foley.
Cooper said the 1st version of his Toulon contract did not mention being freed for national games, but it was renegotiated. Boudjellal said, and “if he is called he will be immediately freed.”
Cooper said the talks with Boudjellal had focused on allowing him to go to the Olympics in Rio next August when Sevens rugby will be played for the 1st time.
The Wallabies have recalled Quade Cooper and rested David Pocock – ditching their successful twin openside flank weapon.
This is amongst 6 changes made to the side to face the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.
After beating New Zealand last week in Sydney, to claim the Rugby Championship, the Wallabies are now aiming to win the Bledisloe Cup for the 1st time in 13 years and end a 39-year losing streak at Eden Park.
But with 1 eye on the bigger prize of the Rugby World Cup, starting in England next month, coach Michael Cheika has put last week’s 27 / 19 victory behind him and made wholesale changes to test the depth of his squad.
The latest instalment in the Quade Cooper transfer saga has been an exchange of words between the Toulon boss and the Australian coach.
Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal launched a relatively tasteless tirade against the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and its prized asset Quade Cooper, whom he threatened would end up as “the 2nd most indebted State after Greece”.
The eccentric Frenchman said that the 150 000 Euros that has been mooted as Cooper’s buyout of his contract was in fact for the promise of a contract – Boudjellal claims that Cooper has actually put pen to paper, which would make that void and has allegedly threatened legal action if Cooper does not show up for his medical soon.
Boudjellal told Midi Olympique: “The moron of the Australian federation who does not understand the case needs to know that the promise of employment is no longer the question.”
Wallaby playmaker Quade Cooper has come under criticism for a tweet laden with foul language targeted at an unknown critic after the clash with Argentina in Mendoza on Saturday.
“Invite me to youre (sic) next team discussion then ask me how much I give a f— about your team selection,” Cooper wrote on his Twitter account. “Zero f—s given…..”
Cooper posted the tweet at 4.49am Mendoza time, the city where the Wallabies had just finished their game.
The 27-year-old came off the bench early in the 1st-half to replace the injured Matt Toomua in an unfamiliar position of inside centre – a role he hasn’t played since his early days at the Reds – and he found himself isolated behind the advantage line a number of times and was yellow carded for a challenge that was high and late.
Reports suggest that Wallaby star Quade Cooper has pulled out of a big-money move to France.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) is set to confirm the Wallabies playmaker has signed a 4-year deal to remain in the country, opting out of his lucrative contract with glamour French club Toulon, Fairfax Media reported.
The media outlet said an announcement was expected to be made on Monday, confirming Cooper’s re-signing with the ARU, after his Reds team severed ties with him last month amid acrimonious contractual negotiations.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika gave nothing away to reporters on Sunday following his team’s last-gasp 24 / 20 win over South Africa in The Rugby Championship opener in Brisbane the previous night.
But Cheika has reportedly been a significant figure in the ARU’s talks with Cooper and his management and has repeatedly underlined the importance of keeping the skilful flyhalf in Australia.
Matt Giteau, Quade Cooper and Will Genia return to the Wallabies starting line-up for an epic encounter against the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
Giteau will earn his 93rd Test cap in the No 12 jersey following a 4-year absence from the Wallabies program.
Playing inside Giteau will be the Reds pairing of Will Genia and Quade Cooper, who return to the run-on team together for the 1st time since November 2013.
The returning trio make up 3 of the 4 total changes to the team which ran out against England at Twickenham in the final Test of the 2014 Spring Tour, with the other change being the return of Tevita Kuridrani at outside centre.
Head coach Michael Chieka said, “I could not have been happier with the 1st two weeks of preparation here in Queensland. These players know they represent a squad of over 50 players who will have some involvement within the Wallabies program at different stages of the year.
Queensland Rugby Union has advised Quade Cooper that they are withdrawing their contract offer and will not attempt to retain him for the 2016 season and beyond.
It is understood that when Cooper travelled overseas in April he signed a pre-commitment to join French side Toulon at the conclusion of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. However, he had previously – and then continued to – demonstrate a genuineness on wanting to remain with the Reds and the Wallabies.
Since that time, his management has been in negotiation with QRU and Australian Rugby Union (ARU). However, due to events over the last few weeks, QRU CEO Jim Carmichael said the organisation was no longer willing to participate in what has been an ongoing process with Cooper’s management.
With Quade Cooper almost certain to honour his agreement with Toulon, Reds coach Richard Graham has revealed the Australian team may seek a new flyhalf from abroad.
Toulon, showing a picture of the Wallaby flyhalf wearing a Toulon jersey and shaking the hand of club president Mourad Boudjellal, only for the Australian and Queensland Rugby Unions to insist they were still in negotiations with the player and nothing was set in stone.
But according to weekend reports, Cooper will indeed be joining the French club after this year’s World Cup, with the deal to be formalised in public within the next fortnight.
On Monday, Graham was sticking to the official line that Cooper’s future in Brisbane was still uncertain but admitted that the club were exploring options for his replacement, including the possibility of bringing in a foreigner.
The Reds believe the Australian Rugby Union’s revised contracting system could convince star playmaker Quade Cooper to remain in Brisbane.
Cooper’s future remains a hot topic of conversation, following the announcement by Toulon than the 53-Test veteran had signed a 2-year contract with the French club.
Cooper, the Reds and the ARU vehemently denied his departure is a done deal – accusing the Top 14 club of jumping the gun.
It is now reported that Cooper has been offered a 4-year flexible contract by the ARU, which will allow him to play in Japan during the off-season and return for Super Rugby to remain eligible for the Wallabies.
Reds coach Richard Graham, addressing a media scrum in Brisbane on Monday, said they remain optimistic that Cooper will not take up the Toulon offer.
Toulon have quashed rumours that they have signed Irish captain Paul O’Connell, but it is believed that the Reds & Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper has made the move.
It was reported that the French giants were chasing another Galácticos signing for the second row, with current legends Bakkies Botha and Ali WIlliams set to retire at the end of the season.
O’Connell’s contract with the IRFU expires in June of 2016, but it was speculated that Toulon were eager for him to be released from his contract to join them after the World Cup.
Since then, a strong statement has been released insisting ‘any alleged contacts between the player and the french club are pure speculation’.
Meanwhile, French paper L’Equipe has said that Toulon have captured the signature of the mercurial Cooper on a 2-year deal.
Cooper, if reports are to be believed, would join a burgeoning Australian contingent at Toulon with Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell already there.
Toulon have already brought in All Black Ma’a Nonu ahead of next season with Samu Manoa, Salesi Ma’afu and Napolioni Nalaga also joining the reigning European champions.
The struggling Reds have left former Australian skipper James Horwill behind as they departed for South Africa on Sunday, following his 2nd Red Card of the Super Rugby season.
Horwill received a 1-match suspension after being sent off in the 21st minute of the Reds match against the Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne on Friday, and he would have been ineligible for the 1st of the Reds’ 2 games in South Africa.
The Reds play the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday and the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein a week later.
Horwill’s Red Card for striking Melbourne Rebels prop Paul Alo-Emile with a swinging arm in a maul proved costly as the 14-man Reds gave up a 12 / 3 lead to lose 23 / 15.
The beleaguered Reds have now lost 6 of their opening 7 games, and their woes have been compounded by the loss of Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper for another 2 months after he fractured his right shoulder blade against the Rebels.
Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper and No 8 Jake Schatz have been ruled out of the side’s 2-week tour of South Africa, after suffering injuries in Friday night’s loss to the Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne.
Cooper fractured his scapula making a tackle, while Schatz ruptured a tendon in his elbow after his arm was caught in an awkward position in a ruck. Cooper will be sidelined for up to 8 weeks, while Schatz will be reviewed in 4 weeks.
The Reds head to Johannesburg this Sunday and head coach Richard Graham said he would take the next 24 hours to make a decision as to who would join the 27-man squad for the tour.
Reds coach Richard Graham wasted no time in rushing back a number of Wallaby stars, when he named his side to take on the Emirates Lions in Brisbane on Friday.
There are 6 players returning from injury for the clash.
Quade Cooper, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi and Lachie Turner will make their return from injury in the starting backline – while props Greg Holmes and Ben Daley have been named on the reserves bench.
Graham commended the players for their efforts since returning from the BYE and said he was pleased to have a selection headache for this week’s match.
Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper has revealed he will be available for the team’s next match against the Lions in Round 7 of Super Rugby.
The playmaker has been out with a fracture collarbone that forced him to miss the Reds’ first five games of the season.
Cooper hasn’t been alone on the sidelines for the Reds as a number of key players have been unavailable, with the 26-year-old joined by James O’Connor, Greg Holmes, Samu Kerevi and Beau Robinson among others. All are expected to be available for next weekend.
“For me, I’ve been preparing for this day for a long time,” Cooper said.
Injured Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper has backed rookie Duncan Paia’aua to fill in as his replacement over the few first few months of the new season.
Cooper is set to miss the first 3 months of Super Rugby after fracturing his collarbone in a “freak accident” during a training match against the Reds’ Under 20 side.
And although former Wallabies flyhalf James O’Connor is in the Brisbane-based franchise’s squad, 20-year-old Paia’aua is the favourite to take over from Cooper.
Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper will be sidelined for 10 to 12 weeks after suffering a fractured collar bone during a training session at Ballymore Stadium on Thursday.
The 26-year-old playmaker, who was out for 16 weeks in 2014 due to an AC joint injury, will have surgery on Tuesday to repair the fracture, which occurred around the previous operation site.
Cooper’s AC joint injury occurred against the Rebels in May last year when he fell awkwardly on his left shoulder in a tackle.
Fiery All Black loose forward Liam Messam will return to the growing ranks of Rugby Union players dabbling in boxing as a pre-season pastime.
Messam, known for his abrasive approach to the game, will be on the undercard when superstars Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper headline the action at the inaugural Footy Show Fight Night in Sydney next month.
Rugby League star Paul Gallen and rising Australian boxer Willis Meehan will also feature in the 31 January event.
Messam’s last entry into the square ring was a points defeat to Gallen in December last year, after he had also beaten Wendell Sailor in 2011.
Wallabies backrower Matt Hodgson will be given the honour of captaining Australia in Saturday’s opening match of the 2014 Spring Tour against the Barbarians at Twickenham.
New head coach Michael Cheika has given Hodgson the responsibility of leading a team which boasts 495 Test caps in the starting line-up, and which also includes four players who will wear the green and gold jersey for the first time in 2014.
The clash against the Barbarians is an uncapped international, although will see playmakers Quade Cooper and Will Genia, winger Henry Speight and backrower Sean McMahon receive their first opportunities for Australia this year.
An extended nine-man bench has also been named for the clash with one player to be omitted following Thursday afternoon’s training session in London.
Cheika said the team was looking forward to the opportunity on Saturday.
Mercurial flyhalf Quade Cooper was among the reserves named on Tuesday for the embattled Wallabies with Adam Ashley-Cooper chosen for his 100th Test against the All Blacks in this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup clash.
Under-fire coach Ewen McKenzie made two changes to his starting line-up with Christian Leali’ifano at inside centre and Rob Simmons returning at lock for a team that lost 21-17 to Argentina on 3 October.
Leali’ifano replaces the injured Matt Toomua while Simmons displaces James Horwill from the beaten side in Mendoza.
Cooper has not played for Australia this year after suffering a shoulder injury in May, when he lost his place to Bernard Foley.
Quade Cooper is set to make his return to Test rugby after being named in the Wallabies’ 32-man squad for next week’s third Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium.
Cooper suffered a serious shoulder injury back in May but has shown good form in the NRC tournament for Brisbane City.
The talented five-eighth is likely to come off the bench with Bernard Foley to start, however Cooper’s return for the clash at Suncorp Stadium on October 18 is timely given the suspension of Kurtley Beale and injuries to several other inside backs.
Injured Queensland Reds and Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper sat down with Chris Garry last week to discuss a dramatic year for his code and club.
Cooper reveals how he helped lure the brightest talent in world rugby, Taniela “Tongan Thor” Tupou, from the clutches of the All Blacks to the Reds, why Queensland should have hit the player market hard following their Super Rugby triumph in 2011, when he will return from injury … and predicts Karmichael Hunt will make the Wallabies’ World Cup squad.
Quade Cooper’s comeback from shoulder and hip surgery will be through the new National Rugby Championship to prove his fitness for a Wallabies recall.
Playing three or four games in the latter stages of the NRC would be the perfect vehicle to rebuild confidence, timing and match hardness.
Mercurial Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper looks likely to miss his side’s June Tests against France due to a shoulder injury.
Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper is set to start in the Reds’ Super Rugby opener against the Brumbies this weekend despite pain in his neck.
The Reds were dealt a double blow ahead of the start of the Super Rugby season, with Wallaby vice-captain Quade Cooper the biggest concern.
Cooper was stretchered off Ballymore as the Rebels produced a shock 18 / 13 pre-season upset of the Reds on Friday.
Reds and Wallabies flyhalf, Quade Cooper has done it, he has won his 2nd boxing fight by defeating former cage fighter, Warren Tressider, on Wednesday with a TKO in the 4th and last round of their fight.
Quade Cooper’s remarkable return could culminate with him becoming the next Wallaby captain after Ben Mowen’s shock decision to quit Australian rugby.
Mowen on Thursday announced that he’ll join the French exodus at the end of the year, seemingly leaving vice-captain Cooper next in line to lead Australia.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver pulled no punches about what he thinks of Quade Cooper’s boxing career.
Quade Cooper is set to meet with Reds CEO Jim Carmichael to discuss the future of the flyhalf’s budding boxing career.
Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper will become Australia’s 40th player to reach the prestigious 50-game Test milestone.
He will achieve this in Saturday’s final year-end tour and James Bevan Trophy contest against Wales at Millennium Stadium.
With the Wallabies having arguably their worst season ever, flyhalf Quade Cooper has voiced his concerns regarding the team.
After losing against the Springboks in their match on Saturday, Cooper told the guys to come together and support the coach.
Quade Cooper returns to the Wallaby starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with the Springboks, an indication that Australia will unleash a running game on the Boks.
Coach Ewen McKenzie gave further indication of his intentions by shifting Israel Folau from wing to fullback – to make the best use of his attacking potential.
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer and Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie are both expected to make changes to their starting line ups for this week’s Rugby Championship match.
Flyhalf Matt Toomua will make his debut for Australia, while Quade Cooper was named on the bench for Saturday’s opening Rugby Championship match against New Zealand in Sydney.
Toomua was given the starting No.10 assignment ahead of Cooper by new Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie, for the match doubling up as a Bledisloe Cup encounter.
Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper has returned to the Wallabies set-up after being included in new coach Ewen McKenzie’s first training squad for The Rugby Championship series against South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina.