Quade Cooper adds fuel to Blues rumour
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Each passing week it seems there are signs Quade to the Blues will actually happen.
While we first proposed the idea as a left-field solution to the long-term issues the Blues have had at 10, it seems that Quade himself is onboard with the idea – liking this tweet from a fan about SBW and Quade Cooper soon to be playing together for his team – the Blues.
Cooper has spent much of his Christmas break with superstar Sonny Bill Williams training together in Auckland, fuelling speculation that a move to the Blues is in the works.
Quade is still contracted to the Reds but he has been told he can look elsewhere and will be granted a release – is it plausible that he could join the Blues? We wrote a piece
Super Rugby clubs in New Zealand can contract a maximum of two non-eligible players in a year – that is, a player who is eligible for a foreign international team other than a Pacific Island nation team. With Cooper capped for the Wallabies, he would fall under this category. Secondly, any deal of this nature is subject to the approval of the NZRU board.
The Blues currently have no other non-eligible players in their squad so they are not restricted in this regard to recruiting Cooper.
New Zealand’s Super Rugby squads are dictated to be finalised by October 24, which is a deadline that has passed. This would be the biggest hurdle to a deal. A maximum of 32 players in the full squad is allowable and an additional six in the draft squad.
However, players in the full squad can be replaced under a medical exemption if the team does not intend to select the player due to injury for the first six weeks of the competition. With Otere Black ruled out for the season, he could be potentially exempted but this is supposed to occur before October 24.
With the board of the NZRU required to sign-off the deal anyway, it would be at their jurisdiction whether the Blues could bring Cooper in at this late stage. Since the NZRU make the contracting rules, they are surely able to break them.