Quade's quite correct, there is a toxic element to the camp - it's him
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THOSE outrageous and deceptive dummies, passes, dinky kicks and runs that used to come off for Quade Cooper on the rugby field and no longer do at Test level are being replicated off the field.
The fact about his incessant, self-indulgent and deceitful twittering is that he is deliberately undermining the Australian Rugby Union, the Wallabies and their coaching staff with his accusation there is a "toxic environment" in the Wallabies.
On Sunday Cooper was quoted as saying the Wallabies will lose fans and Bledisloe Cup Tests if they continued to play "a boring, conservative style". This was followed by several tweets claiming "there's s--- going on behind and above the players" and "I want to play with SonnyBWilliams".
Cooper also endorsed the changes made by the Reds over the past couple of years. He did not acknowledge that these changes were initiated, paid for with a loan and carried through by the ARU.
On Wednesday the chief executive of the Reds, Jim Carmichael, issued a media release headed: An Open Letter To Reds Members. "Quade has no interest in leaving the Reds," the letter stated. "He loves playing for Queensland and representing his country."
Then this statement: "Also there have been suggestions in the media that Quade's actions are part of a Queensland Rugby campaign to bring about a coaching change at a national level, however, I can assure you this is not correct." This is disingenuous. There is a Queensland push for Ewen McKenzie to become the Wallabies coach and Carmichael to succeed John O'Neill as the ARU's chief executive
The point here is that Carmichael knows how Cooper and his manager Khoder Nasser (who is also the manager of Sonny Bill Williams) have behaved in their contract negotiations with the ARU. Cooper signed with the Queensland Rugby Union in June. He was made a joint ARU/QRU offer a month later. Demands for a sabbatical in Japan and a boxing match deal for Cooper were made by Nasser.
The ARU improved its financial offer and allowed the boxing deal. Tim Horan has revealed that this offer "is as high as what he was earning last year".
Nasser has refused to sign off on this offer. He let it lie on the table for two months. Nasser finally agreed to meet the ARU on Tuesday. He didn't turn up for the meeting because several days before this Cooper started his latest round of manic tweets that demonstrated, if more evidence is needed, that he is prepared to poison the well on the negotiations.
Why would Carmichael, who knows this history, publish such a self-serving newsletter to Reds supporters? Is it unreasonable to suggest it is an attempt to create the impression within the rugby community that the QRU supports the complaints made by Cooper?
On Thursday night, appearing on The Rugby Club, Cooper gave a rambling, incoherent interview in which he claimed the Wallabies "environment is killing me as a player and as person". He was not asked about his off-field entanglements with the law (albeit with charges against him being dropped) and his latest adventure, on Thursday last week at 2am, when he, Kurtley Beale and Digby Ioane were involved in a minor car accident. He described the Wallaby jersey as "yellow".
What is this all about? He could not give one reason why he could not sign the contract offered to him by the ARU. Cooper, who has a contract with Fox Sports, made inane comments about poor facilities for the Wallabies, a claim that is palpably incorrect but was not challenged by the interviewers.
He was not forced to acknowledge that senior players are furious with his claims that the Wallaby environment is "very unhappy".
Nor was he forced to give an answer to the matter of his unsigned contract. If he wants to stay in Australian rugby, why doesn't he sign the generous ARU contract?
He is not the victim in this matter. He is the toxic element in the Wallabies. The team will be better off without him.