JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Quade Cooper still keen to play for Reds, says McKenzie

Controversial Reds pivot Quade Cooper.

Controversial Reds pivot Quade Cooper. Photo: Getty Images

Quade Cooper was looking relaxed and contented as he continued rehab on his knee at day one of the official Reds pre-season. Ewen McKenzie said he wasn't concerned Queensland would have a Cooper-shaped hole in the backline for the 2013 Super Rugby campaign.

If a storm is coming, than the calm is already in place at Ballymore. Now all they have to do is batten down the hatches and make it through the week.

Cooper will front an ARU code-of-conduct hearing in Sydney on Wednesday as he finally faces the music for his comments about the toxic state of the Wallabies and their dull style under coach Robbie Deans.

He will face a fine, or a suspension, or possibly both. But after initial reports he had become so estranged from his own game that he would head overseas or play rugby league, it now appears he will remain at the Reds.

While Cooper has been wisely instructed to hold his peace before the ARU hearing, McKenzie patiently addressed every question asked about the messy situation that has dominated rugby headlines since Cooper's first controversial tweets a month ago.

He said what happened in the hearing was out of his hands but insisted Cooper's desire to play the game continued to burn. Whatever punishment was administered by the ARU, McKenzie said, would be dealt with in due course.

"You can go back and trawl over the circumstances. If you had your time again, you'd hope things would have happened differently. I think we need to get to the end of it," McKenzie said.

"There's been a lot of talk and it's been in limbo a little bit, so we'll get some finality on it. I'm not condoning anything or whatever, but it needs to be sorted now. I think that's what we'll get. It's good it's coming to a head.

"It will be what it will be. I think everyone's going there with an open mind and everyone will get the chance to have their say and it will get sorted.

"If you wash it back, Quade put his hand up some time ago about wanting to play rugby in Australia with the Reds. And I don't think anything's changed there."

Cooper's future in the code was questioned after he suggested on Fox that under the current regime, he would not take a Wallaby jersey if one were offered.

But McKenzie said Cooper remained one of the most enthusiastic and competitive players he had dealt with as a coach, and there was no doubt about his dedication to succeed.

"He's very passionate. He's one of the most passionate rugby players I've come across. He loves the game, he loves playing. So while there's been a lot of talk in recent time, I've never, ever thought he wasn't passionate about the Reds or about Australian rugby," McKenzie said.

"You can go back and look at that and forensically analyse words or whatever. I just know the guy is passionate about playing rugby, so I'm hopeful it's all going to sort itself out."

McKenzie also backed Cooper to return to the Wallaby fold once bridges had been sufficiently mended, his knee was sound and his form and confidence returned.

"[He's] one of the most competitive guys I've met. He'll want to play 10 at the highest level he can and in front of the biggest crowds he possibly can. That's him," McKenzie said.

"The thing that people miss is he likes the responsibility of making things happen. We've relied on him heavily in the last few years to deliver for us. And he has.

"He likes to be empowered to do that. He thinks that's his job. I've seen no change from him in that sense. What we have to do is get his knee right so he can get out there and do it."

Cooper signed a three-year deal with the Reds in June but the ARU component has been delayed. His manager, Khoder Nasser, has flown back from Japan and will join Cooper in the hearing on Wednesday.

It's hoped a deal can then be brokered to finalise Cooper's ARU top-up and put the matter to rest.

While Kurtley Beale has made a decent fist of the Wallaby No. 10 jersey since it was vacated by Cooper following the Gold Coast Test against Argentina, Cooper remains a valuable chip for the Reds, who rate his popularity and attacking style as a major crowd and membership drawcard.

Halfback Will Genia is another yet to finalise his ARU deal, but McKenzie remained confident on that front as well.

The Reds returned to training with a massive injury list but all bar Genia are expected to be in line for round one against the Brumbies in Canberra on February 16.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 3vs ROM 0 Stats
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 3 0 3 0 -49 0
Uruguay 2 0 2 0 -107 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Canada 3 0 3 0 -71 1
Romania 2 0 2 0 -61 0
View all

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers