Cannot play for the Reds without an ARU contract ... Quade Cooper Photo: Getty Images
PRETORIA: The Australian Rugby Union will wait until after the end of the Rugby Championship to try to solve its dispute with disenchanted Test five-eighth Quade Cooper.
The ARU chief executive, John O'Neill, who arrived in Pretoria on Friday night, said after several days of drama surrounding Cooper's attack on the culture of the Australian rugby team, including that he did not want to play for the Wallabies, it was necessary to have ''a cooling off period''.
O'Neill plans to talk to Cooper and his management following the Wallabies' final Rugby Championship match against Argentina in Rosario next Saturday. ''Hopefully this will give everyone time to properly think through the situation,'' O'Neill said. Several senior players have also indicated they are eager to talk to O'Neill about the Cooper issue, and meetings will be put in place next month. It is clear Cooper has disenchanted numerous Wallabies with his inflammatory remarks. O'Neill, who will next week attend an International Rugby Board meeting in Cape Town, stressed it was important the Wallabies were not distracted any further in the Rugby Championship.
While Cooper has signed a contract with the Reds, he is still in negotiations with the ARU. Cooper will be unable to play for the Reds next season if he does not have an ARU contract.
Meanwhile, hard-nosed skipper Richie McCaw wants to see New Zealand clinch the inaugural Rugby Championship in style.
McCaw admitted there was a special incentive to wrap up the title on Argentinian soil, in their penultimate game against the competition newcomers, but it was not their main motivation against Los Pumas.
The world champions have had little problem stretching their unbeaten Test streak to 14 in their opening four matches of the tournament but have not scored more than two tries in any, leaving the rugby-loving New Zealand public wanting more.
''Winning's important yes … but I think when you know there is potential to be better and there are areas you can work on and have that attitude, you're always itching for something a bit better,'' he said. ''And we're always looking to be better.''