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Backing for puerile Cooper

Thu, 01 Nov 2012 07:20
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I'm confident of a timely decision regarding Quade's ARU contract negotiations
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Quade Cooper will have to wait to learn if he has been forgiven by Wallaby coach Robbie Deans, but there is plenty of support for the puerile player in other circles in Australia.

The controversial flyhalf, Cooper, was fined a total of $60,000 for his critical comments about the Australian squad.

Cooper described the Wallabies squad as a 'toxic environment' on Twitter which cost him $10,000, and he was fined a further $50,000 in connection with other media comments made about ARU and the Wallabies, with $20,000 of the fine suspended for a period of two years, subject to ongoing compliance with the ARU Code of Conduct.

His franchise, the Reds, have expressed their support for Cooper and the outcome of Wednesday's tribunal hearing.

Queensland Rugby Union CEO Jim Carmichael said he was "satisfied" with the process and appreciative of the manner in which Cooper's case was considered by the panel in Sydney and also that he endorses the heavy punishment the No.10 was given.

"I have always maintained that irrespective of what has been perceived over Quade's inappropriate commentary over the last few weeks, he very much wants to play for his state and cherishes representing his country," Carmichael said.

"For Quade to accept the penalty he was handed and to offer to make a public apology after an extremely difficult day, I'm hopeful is evidence of how much he understands the gravity of his actions and also shows his sincerity in wanting to move forward with his career with the Reds and the Wallabies, demonstrating how much he understands and respects his wider responsibility to our code.

"The hearing was also a good opportunity to share some commonality in our game with the ARU representatives and gain some insights.  From my perspective I found the discussions both productive and helpful on many fronts.

"As a consequence, I'm now confident of a timely decision regarding Quade's ARU contract negotiations and look forward to having him back out on the field for the Reds in February."

He also received support from his Wallaby teammates.

"It's been dealt with, which is a good thing. We've got some clarity now," Wallabies flank and former captain David Pocock said.

"For the moment, it's all just all about the year-end tour."

Ruled out of the four-match European tour starting this weekend with a knee injury, Cooper won't be available for Wallabies selection until the middle of next year.

Asked if Cooper would be welcomed back into the Wallabies squad, Pocock said: "I think that comes down to the coaches and selections".

While some of Cooper's comments cast doubt on his commitment to playing for Australia, he said on Wednesday he was hoping for a big 2013 with the Wallabies.

The ARU had put contract negotiations with Cooper on hold until after the conduct tribunal hearing.

Interim CEO Matt Carroll said the ARU would look at how to address Cooper's contract situation.

He has already re-signed with the Queensland Reds and is now expected to land another ARU deal.

Additional reporting by AAP

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