Cooper's League switch is 'nonsense'

Wed, 26 Sep 2012 09:03
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The Reds dismissed as "nonsense" speculation that Quade Cooper could defect to Rugby League.

The Reds dismissed as "nonsense" speculation that Quade Cooper could defect to Rugby League, saying Wednesday the star playmaker was "100 percent committed" to his contract with the franchise.

Reds chief Jim Carmichael said it was "no secret that Quade is disillusioned at the moment" after his tirade against the "toxic" culture of the Wallabies and expressions of interest in a switch to League.

But Carmichael said he met with Cooper, currently sidelined with a knee injury, in Brisbane this week and the outspoken flyhalf had confirmed he was "100 percent committed" to seeing out his three-year Reds contract.

"I go on the record as saying Quade Cooper has no interest in leaving the Reds," he said in comments reported in Brisbane's Courier Mail.

"Frankly as an organisation and as a code we are tired of reading the speculation about him leaving to join the NRL," he added.

"This is an old story that has no merit and is... nonsense."

Carmichael said officials were working to address Cooper's discontent with what he described as Wallabies coach Robbie Deans' "boring" match strategy.

Cooper sparked intense speculation that he would follow All Black Sonny Bill Williams to the NRL next year after lashing out at Deans and the Australian Rugby Union on Twitter and hinting at a switch to League.

"I want to play with my brother @SonnyBWilliams," Cooper tweeted.

Cooper's injury meant he did not travel to South Africa for Australia's final two Rugby Championship matches against the Springboks and Argentina, and several in the team were reported to be furious with his outburst.

The Wallabies have been under intense scrutiny after being trounced in both of their four-nation Championship games against the All Blacks including a humiliating 22-0 defeat in Auckland last month.

They mustered desperate victories against South Africa and the Pumas and Deans is under pressure to conjure some convincing wins or face the axe.

A horror run of injuries has complicated the task, with a number of star players sidelined including successive captains James Horwill, David Pocock and Will Genia.

Genia defended the side Wednesday, saying there "hasn't been much stability in terms of combinations" and the move to South Africa ahead of Saturday's closely-watched Test in Pretoria had been good for team unity.

"They seem very focused, they seem like they're really enjoying their time over there and I think with everything that's happening it's obviously a good time for the boys to get away," he said.

AFP

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