THE Queensland Reds are still ''seriously considering'' appealing Quade Cooper's suspension but fear disrupting team preparation with time running out before Saturday's Super Rugby qualifying final against the Sharks.
Queensland Rugby Union chairman Rod McCall said yesterday the QRU would speak with governing body SANZAR before deciding on whether to appeal the one-match ban for a high tackle on Waratahs centre Berrick Barnes.
But time will be short for Cooper to be cleared in time to face the Sharks in the sudden-death final in Brisbane if the Reds use all of the allowed 48 hours to appeal since receiving the written judgment from the judiciary hearing on Tuesday night.
''We are obviously particularly sensitive to not disrupting the Reds' team dynamics and preparation in launching an appeal at this late stage,'' McCall said.
''However, by not receiving the formal judgment until 8pm Tuesday, after the decision was handed down on Monday evening, time is getting away from us in what was already a short preparation.
''Under the current SANZAR protocols, if we were to launch an appeal, we would lose at least a further day of preparation with [Reds coach] Ewen [McKenzie] and Quade, who would both be required to fly to Sydney for another hearing.
''However, we are cognisant of the need to support our player if we feel he has been treated harshly and, in our opinion, we still strongly believe the tackle did not warrant suspension.
''After taking the advice of legal representatives, the QRU first intends to discuss the matter further with SANZAR before making a decision whether to launch an appeal.''
If the Reds win, Cooper will be free to return for the semi-final against the Chiefs in Hamilton next week.