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Cooper relieved impasse with ARU resolved

Date
Quade Cooper and Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie at Friday's announcement that the star five-eighth will remain in Australian rugby.

Quade Cooper and Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie at Friday's announcement that the star five-eighth will remain in Australian rugby. Photo: Getty Images

Quade Cooper has expressed his relief after ending a six-month standoff with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and signing a two-year deal worth $750,000 a season.

At one stage, Cooper looked lost to Australian rugby after reports emerged of a lucrative French offer that would have made him one of the highest-paid players in the world.

In another twist, Cooper had also announced he would contest his first professional boxing bout in Brisbane on February 8 - eight days before his Queensland Reds kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Brumbies in Canberra.

But Cooper reiterated his passion for the Reds - and the Wallabies jersey - after inking the new ARU deal.

However, he said he was still committed to his boxing debut despite the tight schedule.

‘‘It’s a very happy moment, to be able to continue my career with the Reds and hopefully the Wallabies is pretty exciting,’’ he said.

‘‘Reds chairman Rod McCall, (director of coaching) Ewen (McKenzie) and (Reds CEO) Jim Carmichael have worked very hard with (ARU Chairman) Michael Hawker behind the scenes and were able to get a deal done.

‘‘Now I can concentrate on my footy career and my upcoming boxing fight.’’

The Wallabies five-eighth committed to a new three-year deal with the Reds back in June but that was dependent on him signing with the ARU.

Talks with the ARU were on the brink of collapse late last month when it offered him a new incentive-based deal.

Asked how close he was to walking away from Australian rugby, Cooper said: ‘‘It wasn’t a matter of walking away.

‘‘I expressed my desire to continue to play rugby but there was no contract at that stage so I had to continue on and deal with what I had.

‘‘So last week I held a press conference to announce that fight to make sure I had something there.

’’On the French offer, Cooper said: ‘‘I have never said anything about a French offer.

‘‘I could have brought that up at my last press conference but we didn’t.

‘‘It wasn’t a matter of playing people off each other.

‘‘It was just a team over in France had expressed great interest and I am very grateful for that.

‘‘My first goal now is to get back out on the paddock and do my best for Queensland.’’

Cooper’s criticism of the Wallabies’ ‘‘toxic’’ culture is believed to have initially resulted in a downgraded offer but, after going back to the negotiating table, he and the ARU have reached agreement.

Asked if he would be happy to play under Wallabies coach Robbie Deans again, Cooper said: ‘‘Of course’’.

AAP

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Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Report Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Stats
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RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Stats
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Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
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ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Stats
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IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Stats
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ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
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IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Stats
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