Ashley-Cooper signs on for more

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 05:43
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I'd like another crack at the World Cup

Wallabies and NSW Waratahs back Adam Ashley-Cooper has re-signed to stay in Australia until after the 2015 World Cup.

He becomes the third player to commit to Australia and the Waratahs for the week - following on from prop Sekope Kepu and scrumhalf Nick Phipps, with the latter having confirmed a switch from the Melbourne Rebels to the Waratahs for next season.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says the trio of re-signings reflects a vote of confidence from the players concerned in the future of Australia, and the opportunities that staying at home provides.

"It's a good indicator. The players are the most important resource the game has, and they do have other alternatives around contract time," Deans says.

"By committing their futures to Australia, they are showing confidence in the programmes. This is definitely the case with Adam."

Ashley-Cooper, who is now with the Waratahs after having appeared 78 times for the Brumbies between 2005 and 2011, has resisted overtures to move off-shore.

He cited unfinished business at Test level and in Super as primary reasons behind the decision to stay.

"I'm not done yet," Ashley-Cooper says.

"I'd like another crack at the World Cup if I can. I wouldn't mind winning Super either!

"The competition for places, after all of the injuries we had last year, has left the Wallabies in a pretty good space. I think everyone is excited about what is coming up this year with the British & Irish Lions tour, but there's a World Cup not that far away now, and goals like the Rugby Championship and especially the Bledisloe Cup in between.

"I'd hate to finish my time with the Wallabies having not had the experience of winning the Bledisloe."

Twenty-nine next week; Ashley-Cooper has appeared against the All Blacks on 17 occasions, scoring six tries from those games. Only David Campese (eight) and Matthew Burke (seven) have scored more tries in Tests against New Zealand, while only 11 Australians have more than the 23 tries that Ashley-Cooper has scored in Tests for the Wallabies.

A veteran of two previous World Cup tournaments amongst his 77 Tests to date; Ashley-Cooper made his Super and Test debuts within a few months of each other in 2005.

He was the only player from any country to feature in every minute of a full seven-Test programme at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, scoring the first hat-trick of his representative career inside of an eight-minute period during Australia's win over the United States at Wellington.

Such is his versatility; he ranks highly on the Australian Test appearance charts for a number of positions, having appeared on 24 occasions at fullback (fourth), 35 in the centres (seventh), and 18 on the wing.

Just six of the Ashley-Cooper appearances have come from the bench, while the consistency of his performance has been such that he has missed just six Tests since the start of 2008.

Only 14 players have represented Australia on more occasions than has Ashley-Cooper, who became the 35th Wallaby to surpass 50 Tests when he raised that milestone against Italy at Florence on the 2010 Spring Tour.
Born in Sydney, Ashley-Cooper lived on the Central Coast until his move to Canberra in 2005.

After 78 appearances for the Brumbies, he moved home to NSW at the start of last season, confirming that he had turned down offers from overseas to remain in his home state.

"There's a lot of motivation behind it," the utility back said.

"I feel like I've only just got here and there's a great culture at the place. I feel that what we're building is really exciting and we've got a lot of potential for the next few years.

"I'm really enjoying my time here, it would have been really hard to leave."

An ever-present in the Waratahs backline last season, Ashley-Cooper appeared in 16 of the team's 18 matches last year and has since worn the 13 jersey in all four of the team's 2013 Super matches to date, a position he retains this weekend against the Blues. A veteran of two previous World Cup tournaments, he has represented his country in 77 Tests since making his Test debut within months of debuting at Super level, back in 2005.

Such is his versatility; he ranks highly on the Australian Test appearance charts for a number of positions, having appeared on 24 occasions at fullback (fourth), 35 in the centres (seventh), and 18 on the wing.