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Critical Cooper ready to kick Wallabies career into touch

Subjected to base Kiwi taunts ... Quade Cooper.

Subjected to base Kiwi taunts ... Quade Cooper. Photo: AFP

Quade Cooper is on the verge of walking away from rugby union.

The Queensland and Australian five-eighth is at increasingly remote odds to play another game for the Reds or Wallabies as negotiations to finalise the remaining components of his latest deal continue to deteriorate.

Cooper indicated in June he would remain with the Reds for a further three seasons, but the Australian Rugby Union part of that contract is yet to be completed. With Cooper venting his frustrations at the ''toxic'' Wallabies environment via social media and his relationship with coach Robbie Deans at rock bottom, the 24-year-old is making all the sounds of man who is making a move.

Split … a growing chasm has developed between Quade Cooper and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and the ARU.

Split … a growing chasm has developed between Quade Cooper and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and the ARU. Photo: Getty Images

Sources told Fairfax yesterday that given the climate, Cooper is little chance to remain involved in Australian rugby next season. The French competition and the NRL are among the potential destinations if he exits.

Cooper has spoken of a desire to play in the NRL on a few occasions, while close friend Sonny Bill Williams has made it clear he wants to lure Cooper back to the game he played as a schoolboy. Williams wants Cooper to join him at the Sydney Roosters next season, and judging by Cooper's sentiments during an outspoken weekend, in which he fired shots at Deans, the ''boring'' rugby of the Wallabies and the state of the ARU, he is more than open to the prospect.

Until they hear otherwise, the Reds expect Cooper to be back at Ballymore next year but concede there are rifts between their star player and the ARU that need to be mended before that happens.

But with Roosters chairman Nick Politis out of the country on business, it was left to club chief executive Steve Noyce to hose down the reports. ''We're aware of a lot of speculation but James Maloney is joining us as our marquee signing at five-eighth, and we've made a commitment to James,'' he said.

Maloney is expected to form a formidable halves combination with Mitchell Pearce, leaving little room for Cooper. He could play at fullback but the club also appears to be full there, with gun winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck considered a successor to veteran Anthony Minichiello.

Reds chief executive Jim Carmichael, who has castigated Cooper for his outspoken views on Twitter at the weekend, said several issues needed to be resolved.

''The Reds have kept their house tidy. These are in-house issues that have to be dealt [with] between Quade and the Wallabies, not the Reds,'' he said. ''There's a lot of issues there. They [the ARU] need to reconcile their issues with Quade, and Quade has to reconcile his issues with them.''

The beginning of the frayed relationship between Cooper, Deans and the ARU can be traced back to the World Cup last year.

Cooper's supporters feel he was made a scapegoat for the lacklustre Wallabies performance. They also believe there was little public backing from coaches and management in the face of an onslaught from Kiwi fans over his run-ins with Richie McCaw.

Deans's criticism of Cooper following the win over Argentina looks to have been the final straw, with Cooper taking little time to air his thoughts on the state of the game as he awaited further surgery on his reconstructed knee.

''There's a lot of people who are afraid to say what they feel so they just go along with it, and nothing is going to change,'' he said on Sunday.

''That's why I feel so strongly as a player. I don't want to be involved in the toxic environment, and that's how it is at the moment. It's an environment where things aren't going according to plan, and everyone is looking to point the finger.''

Cooper has made it clear his issue lies with the ARU, not the Reds. He plays his best rugby for their coach, Ewen McKenzie, who is in line for the Wallabies job after Deans.

Much could depend on the next two Tests, against South Africa in Pretoria and Argentina in Rosario. A poor showing could prompt a push against Deans and the promotion of McKenzie, which appears to be the only scenario that will keep Cooper in the Australian game.

Former Wallabies coaches have also had their say, with Eddie Jones urging Cooper to go to league. ''It's clear to me that Quade has lost all confidence playing in the current set-up, and I think it's time for him to go and start something new,'' he said.

And John Connolly said the Cooper-Deans situation had reached the point of no return. ''It's not acceptable to have players going public bagging the coach,'' he said.

with AAP


  • good, let him go. nothing but a petulant and pugnacious childlike behaviour.

    Date and time
    September 25, 2012, 6:51AM
    • +1

      Sick of his attitude, all about helping himself and not the team.

      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 8:16AM
    • No individual is bigger than the game. I played 5/8 at a State level decades ago and have watched Quade Cooper's rugby career closely. His style of play is suited to Super 15 but unfortunately he lacks the discipline required at a Test level. This has brought him unstuck on too many an occasion. Also, his kicking game is second -rate. The question needs to be asked. Should Quade Cooper be playing 5/8? I think he is better suited to the inside-centre position. Don't get me wrong, Quade Cooper is an immensely talented football player, but he doesn't play enough of his game between his ears.

      Keen Observer
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 9:16AM
    • +2. Can he take Kurtley with him?

      Seamus O'Connor
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 9:18AM
    • No great loss. Is it just a coincidence that the three biggest talkers in the the sport with the least to back it up, the three who refuse to be part of a team, share the same manager?

      Harvey K-Tel
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 9:19AM
    • I agree. Great talent, but a huge ego to go with it, so he can't handle criticism. Which is what you deserve when you turn in one error-riddled performance after another.

      We're better off developing the next generation rather than pandering to Quade's fragile ego.

      Oh and if he thinks the NRL is a match for his fumbling brand of 'creativity'...

      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 9:20AM
    • Agreed. He is quite a good player but nowhere near as good as he thinks he is. At club level he looks good but against quality international opponents he gets exposed everytime.

      His style of play is better suited to league. He isn't smart enough to be a union player. He can't play to a structured plan or adapt to different opponents.

      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 9:25AM
    • Love how he says that crowds are staying away. What would you expect when we keep picking a guy at flyhalf who:
      - passes the ball to the feet of the intended player
      - passes the ball to the bloke sitting in the third row of the stands
      - passes the ball to the opposition
      - won't tackle (it's gone long beyond can't)
      - kicks the ball straight to the best fullbacks in the world.

      He'll be a hit in league - you don't need to tackle, as there are plenty of places to hide; you don't need to get involved in the play too often, maybe one in 6-12 tackles at 5/8; you can kick the ball straight to the best fullbacks and get away with it, because the defence is already up in their face.

      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 9:28AM
    • +3 could you also take Oconnor & Beale

      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 9:37AM
    • Reading the comments below, very few Rugby fans will be sad to see him go. His ego is bigger than the team, and in Rugby, that doesn't work. I suspect there is a lot of play-acting going on here as his manager tries to get him a good deal for the next few years while he still can. However, I think Cooper and Nasser have over-played their hand. Good riddance, Cooper. No player is bigger than the game.

      San Francisco
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 9:45AM

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