Wallaby playmaker Cooper seals Reds return

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 06:47

NEWS: Maverick flyhalf Quade Cooper has signed a three-year contract with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) taking him back to the Reds.

The new deal will carry the 28-year-old through until the end of the 2019 World Cup in Japan, the ARU said Thursday.

Cooper played 105 Super Rugby matches from 2007 before moving to European heavyweights Toulon in 2015.

He has also won 59 Test caps for the Wallabies, which included the defeat to the All Blacks last weekend in Wellington, his first full international since last year's World Cup.

Cooper said he had missed Test rugby during his spell in France.

"For me, playing at the highest level for the Wallabies against the best teams in the world, week in, week out is the ultimate.

"Being back in Australia and having the opportunity to play for the Wallabies is something that drives me every day and being around my friends and family in Queensland is equally important for me," he said.

Australia coach Michael Cheika saluted Cooper's move.

"I am very pleased that Quade has decided to return to Australia to play his rugby," Cheika said.

"His return brings back his trademark flair and X-factor but also, after his experience overseas, a wiser approach to the way he can lead the team around the field.

"I really believe he will make a big impact on the game both for Queensland and for the national team."

New Zealand-born Cooper, who has amassed 154 points for the Wallabies since his 2008 debut,  confirmed his departure from Toulon in July, a year after signing from the Reds.

He failed to settle in southern France and struggled to secure a starting spot.

Often considered a great talent, Cooper, who has dabbled in professional boxing during off-seasons, has a controversial past.

He was fined heavily by the ARU in 2012 after describing the atmosphere within the Aussie squad as "toxic".

A year earlier he was accused of deliberately kneeing All Black legend Richie McCaw in the face and has since been booed every match he has played in New Zealand.

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 28 October 2016
Ulster v Munster 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Edinburgh v Zebre 18h35 BT Murrayfield
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 29 October 2016
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 14h00 Allianz Park
Ospreys v Dragons 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Leinster v Connacht 16h15 RDS Arena
Sun, 30 October 2016
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Bristol v Sale Sharks 15h00 Ashton Gate
Exeter Chiefs v Bath 15h00 Sandy Park
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9