It would appear that another star name in Australian rugby is set for a return Down Under as reports suggest that Quade Cooper is on the brink of resigning with former club Queensland Reds.
These reports come in the wake of Wallaby great George Smith officially confirming that he has signed a two-year contract with the Queensland based franchise and it looks likely that Cooper is set to follow suit.
Having failed in his attempt to make the Australian sevens squad in time for this summers Rio Olympics and with current club Toulon’s recent signings at out-half with the recruitment of Francois Trinh-Duc and Pierre Bernard, Cooper’s immediate playing future seemed uncertain.
Step-in Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika who has spoken openly about approaching players such as Cooper in an attempt to entice them back to Australian rugby.
While he is all for players going abroad to benefit from the experience, Cheika is more than adamant in bringing back a talent such as Cooper’s who after the World Cup was left on 58 caps, two away from becoming a beneficiary of the ‘Giteau rule’ which allows overseas players on 60 caps to remain in contention for the national team:
“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 said.
“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.”
While the Wallaby No.10 jersey firmly belongs to the ‘Ice-Man’ Bernard Foley, Cooper would add depth in talent to the squad and competition for places, something which Cheika strives for.
Queenland could badly do with Cooper’s return, as while current number 10 Jack McIntyre has shown glimpses of potential, he fails to deliver consistently in Super Rugby. Queensland rugby executive general manager Daniel Herbert has stated that he would love for Cooper to return to the Reds and that he has always been a big fan of the 28-year-old fly-half:
“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.”
(source via smh.com.au)