Cooper cops $40,000 fine from ARU for outbursts
Quade Cooper gives a statement to the media after the disciplinary hearing. Photo: Anthony Johnson
QUADE COOPER'S future in Australian rugby remains in limbo after the Wallabies five-eighth was fined $40,000 for criticising the team and coach Robbie Deans.
Although Cooper has signed a three-year deal with Super Rugby franchise the Reds, the ARU withdrew its top-up contract after the injured playmaker's remarks in September.
Deputy chief executive Matt Carroll said the ARU had noted the tribunal's findings and would consider the next step in the contracting process.
Quade Cooper at ARU headquarters after the hearing. Photo: Anthony Johnson
''ARU placed contract negotiations with Quade Cooper on hold until the tribunal process had been finalised,'' he said.
''Given the tribunal has handed down its decision, this matter as far as we are concerned has been finalised. ARU will now look at how we address the contract situation involving Quade Cooper.''
After more than four hours of hearings and deliberations at the ARU headquarters in St Leonards on Wednesday, the three-person tribunal found Cooper had breached the ARU's code of conduct in two separate instances.
Quade Cooper arrives at ARU headquarters. Photo: Anthony Johnson
He was fined $10,000 for a post on Twitter criticising an ARU-licensed computer game, Rugby Challenge, and $50,000 for comments he made in the general media and on Twitter, in which he called the Wallabies culture ''toxic'' and criticised the team's style of play under Deans.
A $20,000 portion of that was suspended, as was a three-match ban, but both will be activated if Cooper breaches the code of conduct again at any point in the next two years.
The Reds playmaker apologised to rugby fans and said he received a ''very fair hearing'' at ARU headquarters. ''I'm very happy with the outcome and obviously the sentence that's been handed to me, full respect for that, and I understand that I fell well below par for what it means to be a Wallaby, and for all the supporters who are out there, my apologies,'' he said.
Cooper must wait while the ARU decides whether to put its contract offer back on the table.
But in the aftermath of the four-hour hearing, Cooper, who has battled a knee injury all year and will sit out the Wallabies end-of-year tour to Europe, broached the subject of playing again in the gold jersey. ''From now I'm just looking forward to the future, and hopefully having a big year with not only my state but the Wallabies and very much looking forward to overcoming my injury and getting back on the field,'' he said.
Meanwhile, back-rower Alexandre Lapandry was called up by France coach Philippe Saint-Andre on Tuesday for the Test against the Wallabies in Paris on November 10 in place of the injured flanker Wenceslas Lauret.